The Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, recently appointed Assistant Secretary Carolyn McAskie as his special representative to the South African country Burundi. According to UN Wire, special representatives are almost never women. To remedy this, the United Nations passed UN Resolution 1325, which urges the Secretary General to appoint more women as special representatives and calls on member states to suggest female candidates to the Secretary General.
McAskie, an international aid and development expert from Canada, has been traveling from crisis to crisis in Africa as a UN assistant secretary general and deputy head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. She played a key role in Burundi’s peace process, and spoke with the UN Wire about the poor status of women in Burundi and of the work she did “to get the Burundian delegations themselves to include women” in the peace talks.