Breaking: Michelle Bachelet to Head New UN Agency for Women

You’ll remember that back in July, the United Nations voted unanimously to create a new office on women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), which will begin official operations in January 2011.

Just moments ago, Un Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced that he’s appointing former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to head the new agency, citing her global leadership and stature as ideal qualifications for the position.

You can watch the appointment take place here.

The new agency was created to ensure a more coordinated and coherent approach to addressing women’s rights and health throughout the UN, and will consolidate the four existing UN bodies on women (UNIFEM, DAW, INSTRAW and OSAGI) into one new entity. By coordinating the work of all bodies that work on women throughout the UN system, the new agency is meant to help the UN and governments to deliver more effectively on their obligations and many commitments to advance gender equality, women’s empowerment, and women’s human rights.

I believe that Bachelet’s appointment puts a highly capable and qualified leader at the helm of this agency, and is a step in the right direction towards achieving this hugely important goal, and I’m not the only one.

“This is a stunning and effective appointment for an agency that must both break new ground and inspire the entire UN system,” said IWHC President Adrienne Germain. “Former President Bachelet brings enormous skills herself and also political stature as former president. Women around the world look to her to create an effective and powerful agency that will affect how the entire UN system, as well as governments, respond to and meet the needs of women and girls who have been given short shrift for far to long.”

Stay tuned to Akimbo for more updates and analysis of this decision.



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