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Despite efforts, gender parity remains elusive in the UN, especially in its main governing body—the General Assembly. Since 1945, only 4 out of 74 Presidents have been women. No woman has ever been UN Secretary-General.

GWL Voices advocates for “Rotation for Equality” in the United Nations Presidency of the General Assembly. Inspired by regional rotation, this initiative proposes alternating between male and female Presidents yearly.

️Regional rotation ensures equal representation of all regions, and it was established on the Annex to resolution 33/138 of 19 December 1978 of the General Assembly. However, up to this date, there is no mechanism to ensure women’s right to equal representation. 

The Basis of Rotation for Equality

Rotation for Equality aims to close gender gaps within the UN and globally. 

For UNGA 79, Africa will preside, based on regional rotation. GWL Voices suggests rotating between male and female candidates, ensuring a woman’s appointment every other year. 

GWL Voices’ campaign seeks the adoption of a formal mechanism that would allow rotation between male and female presidents, and starting with  a woman President by the 80th Session in 2025.

Public support for Rotation for Equality 

Currently, five countries are supporting and championing this campaign: Botswana, Mexico, Slovenia, Spain, and Uruguay. All of them have pledged support, leading the way for gender equality within the UN system. 

Here you can watch some of the public support announcements made by countries. 

Spain: Supporting GWL Voices in UNGA78 and the GWLVoices Dialogue 

The President of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, announced for the first time his public support during the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, on September 21st, by saying: 

"This commitment to gender equality also needs to be reflected in multilateral relations, more specifically in the allocation of top jobs at the institutions themselves. In this multilateral field, it is important that this consideration is taken into account in the next appointments made in the United Nations system."

Watch the reel on our IG

Meanwhile, during GWL Voices Dialogue, on January, 2024, the President of Spain asked the audience: Where would we be? What would be our history, the history of humanity, if women had participated in political decisions much earlier? If women had been able to join diplomatic activities much earlier? How would the world be if women had the real presence in power that they rightfully deserve? I believe, we have taken way too long to ask ourselves these questions, but there are also some answers that are very evident, very clear, because scientific evidence itself supports it. 

He finalized his opening remarks by ensuring: 

"Spain, the entire Spanish society, and by extension its government, support your cause. We endorse your initiatives for a gender rotation system for the election of the presidency of the General Assembly."

Watch the opening of GWL Voices Dialogue with President Sánchez speech

Slovenia: Evidence-based Arguments for Rotation for Equality

As per Slovenia’s President, Nataša Pirc Musar, was the first authority to express her support for the GWL Voices campaign during UNGA78 by saying: 

“Initiatives to achieve this objective include the framework of the United Nations. On this particular point, I am thinking about the initiative of GWL Voices concerning the rotation of the Presidency of the UN General Assembly. Mr. President, you are presiding over an assembly of the most important global institutions; we are all painfully aware of the fact that here only 4 presidents of the General Assembly have been women. Only four in its entire history, 74 were men. We should live up to our own declaration on gender equality and materialize it in the General Assembly as well. This would be a way to demonstrate our giant commitment.”

Watch the video on X

Mexico and Uruguay: Highlights of GWL Voices Dialogue

Watch the video with Mexico and Uruguay support (55:25)

Download our Rotation for Equality one-pager