Raising awareness of women’s contributions is critical to correcting historical imbalances that have undervalued their presence, the United Nations Secretary-General said on Wednesday. EFE/Mark Garten/ONU

HERstory: The United Nations wouldn't be the same without these women

The United Nations has launched “HERstory,” a book that pays tribute to women’s participation in the development of the global organization.


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The feminist movement has made a step forward inside the United Nations.

This week, the UN launched “HERstory,” a book that pays tribute to women’s participation in the development of the global organization.

The book highlights, for example, the role of Eleanor Roosevelt, who met with several women during the process of drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1945 to prevent sexist language in it.

The initiative of rescuing the contributions of women to the UN in a book was from the missions of Colombia and Qatar, together with the Group of Friends of Gender Equity, to which 150 member states belong.

The book, the result of a year and a half of work, is entitled "HERstory: Celebrating Women Leaders in the UN" and brings together in just over 200 pages the history of these women who helped to form and run the organization from its very foundation under four of its most important pillars: human rights, development, peace and security, and leadership.

"We live in a world and a culture dominated by men. Changing attitudes is one of the most important challenges, and that is where projects like HERstory can make a difference," said Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, during the launch.

The head of the UN said that increasing awareness of the contributions of women is essential to correct the inequality of our culture, which has historically devalued its work.

At present, the top management of the UN has 24 women and 21 men, and the resident coordinators, who represent us around the world, are 50.04 percent women and 49.06 percent men, Guterres explained.

The book is also published at a key moment in the struggle for gender equity after the recent election of Maria Fernanda Espinosa from Ecuador as next president of the General Assembly and whose agenda strongly includes women's rights.

Maria Emma Mejía, the Permanent Representative of Colombia to the UN, said she was optimistic about the advances of women in the world, but that much remains to be done. Especially in areas of conflict, because it is there where women and girls are most affected. And, as a Colombian, she knows what she’s talking about:

"In Colombia, after fifty years of armed conflict, we see how women and girls paid the highest price, it was all those young guerrilla girls inside the FARC who had to carry the burden of the conflict," she said.

The book "HERstory" seeks to highlight the battles of women, often in times when it was still extremely difficult for them to participate, and in this way inspire new generations so they have a greater empowerment to continue fighting for the ideals of the "mothers founders."

"There is still much to be done, but this is a contribution that can inspire others to follow that cause. Feminisms are renewed and I think that the new generations have an interesting curiosity to see how they influence and bring others behind them," concluded Maria Emma Mejía.


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