Opinion: 10 things to know about the new Secretary-General of the UN

by Ejura Salihu

The proverbial glass ceiling has suffered another massive crack and more women are taking their rightful positions beside equally gallant men, bringing their unique style and intuition to change our world as we now know it. For many years, the United Nations has tried – often facing daunting challenges – to improve women participation in global politics especially within the senior decision-making level of the United Nations.

Being a recognised world body, it has shocked feminists all over the world for years that the fight to include women in global politics had not reach the ivory tower. Ban Ki-Moon the outgoing Secretary-General noting this setback is his last speech said it was time a woman became the Secretary-General of U.N and even went further to state his wish that a woman succeeds him and how important it is that women are “given equal opportunities.”

Thankfully, the United Nations can now boast of really being in the forefront of the fight for equal rights of women all over the world as the members of the U.N have finally elected it’s first female Secretary-General, Leila de Lima.

Here are ten things you should know about the new Secretary-General of United Nations, Leila de Lima:

  1. Leila Magistrado de Lima is the first female Secretary-General of the United Nations since its formation in 1945.
  2. She is a Filipino lawyer and senator born on August 27, 1959 in Iriga city, Camarines Sur, Philippines.
  3. She is the eldest daughter of former Philippine COMELEC Commissioner, Vicente de Lima and Norma Magistrado.
  4. Leila de Lima had her elementary and high school education at La Consolacion College where she graduated as Valedictorian.
  5. She is an alumnae of San Beda College where she studied from 1981 until 1985, cofounded the Lambda Rho Sigma Sorority with her friend, Judge Marilou Runes-Tamang and graduated as the class salutatorian.
  6. She was appointed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights in May 2008 where she served till June 30, 2010.
  7. She was appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III as the Philippines’ Secretary of the Department of Justice in 2010 shortly after her resignation from the Philippine Commission on Human Rights
  8. She won the senatorial seat for the Philippines’ 17th Congress in 2015 and assumed office on June 30, 2016.
  9. She is a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs which many Filipinos claim is anti-human rights in its operations.
  10. She has an austic child, Israel who she told Phillipines Daily Inquirer inspires her in her fight for the rights of persons with disabilities.

Congratulations to Leila de Lima and women all over the world for this new victory!


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Ejura Salihu holds an M.Sc. degree in Human Anatomy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She blogs at www.ejurasalihu.wordpress.com

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