Day Four of UNCSW

Thoughts from June Butler



June Butler tells us all about her fourth day at UNCSW!, dominated by attending the summit with the Secretary General 


March 17th 2017,  New York

Let me start by saying Happy St Patricks Day, and what an experience it was to be in New York  as an Irish woman on such a special day!

The main event of the day, which took up most of my time, was the Secretary General’s address to the summit which was also a question and answer session. His speech was very good and he pledged his commitment  to gender parity. He said "We live in a male dominated world....the simple question is the question of empowerment".  He was received very well and there was applause throughout the hall to many of the Secretary General's replies - I was very impressed by the way he attempted to address every question no matter how difficult it had been. There was louder than when he spoke about needing “equality of opportunity for all regardless of gender or nationality” and that he intended to appoint within the Executive of the UN someone to liaise with NGOs and civil society as well as a new Youth Envoy who would be a young female. 

The intense session ended with some humour as there had been a suggestion that instead of him being appointed recently as the new Secretary General, a woman should have been appointed. He said that if that was still the opinion, he would have to resign before any woman could be offered post and there could be no guarantee of that. The view was expressed that it was better to have the "devil you know" and that it was excellent to know that Mr Guterres was strong advocate for gender parity is all aspects of life.

It was a great session with so many interesting and varied questions and I could see by his demeanour, his comprehension of and his ability to manage every question and comment on every situation, and his sense of humour, just why he had been appointed as Secretary General! 



  • We pray for the Secretary General, Mr Guterres, that he will continue to keep gender parity high on his agenda and that his passion for equal opportunities for all will continue 
  • We pray for the new role within the Executive of the UN who will work with NGOs and civil society - that the right person will be appointed to the role and they will flourish in their work
  • We pray that all those on within the UN will have open ears and hearts to the issue of gender parity and that by this time next year we will already see improvements and movement forward on the issue.