Women’s Major Group (WMG), a civil society organisation, has called for the appointment of a female secretary-general to lead the UN.

This is contained in a petition to the 193 Member States of the UN on Thursday.

It said after the appointment of eight male scribes, a female secretary-general was urgently needed to foster gender equality in the leadership of the UN.

The group suggested that such woman must bring a strong feminist perspective to the UN, in line with the UN’s core values of human rights, equality, and justice.

``The next UN secretary-general must also be a woman who has demonstrated a capacity to address the global structures, systems and values that undermine gender equality.

``We, therefore, call for a woman secretary-general who has a demonstrable commitment to advancing a bold, comprehensive women’s human rights agenda.’’

The group contended that a woman would make sure that the UN implemented the reforms necessary to protect its status as a genuinely democratic multilateral institution that acts in the interests of all people and all countries, and not just the most powerful.

WMG also said that a woman at the helms of affairs of the UN would take action to ensure that feminist and civil society movements were not just observers in policy making, but active and equal participants.

The petition, which started in March, has over 1,000 signatures, including the UN Women.

NAN reports that the WMG works to promote human rights based sustainable development with a focus on women’s human rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality.

NAN reports that five women are among 11 contesting for the position of the secretary-general.

They are Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, Helen Clark, the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Natalia Snegur-Gherman, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova.

Others are Susana Malcorra, Foreign minister of Argentina and Vesna Pusić, who serves as Deputy Speaker of the Croatian Parliament.

The men are Igor Luksic, former Prime Minister of Montenegro and Danilo Turk, former Slovenian Ambassador to the UN, Srgjan Kerim, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia and Mirosluv Lajtak, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.

Others are Antonio Guterres, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Vuk Jeremic, President of the Centre for International Relations and Sustainable Development in Belgrade.

NAN reports that an election is due to be held in 2016 to select the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, to succeed Ban Ki-moon, whose term will conclude on Dec. 31.

The secretary-general is appointed by the General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Security Council.

The secretary-general's selection is therefore subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

They are China, France, Russia Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The rule governing the selection of the ninth Secretary-General is Article 97 of the UN Charter, which states that “The Secretary-General shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.”