Filipino Senator Leila de Lima has been elected as the new United Nations Secretary-General as Ban Ki-moon brings his term to an end. De Lima’s win follow Ban Ki-moon’s plea for the next person to take his office after his departure should be a woman.
This is the first time a woman is holding the leading role in the United Nations since its formation in 1945. Ban said he feels that after eight men have led, “it’s high time now” for a female secretary-general, stating he strongly believes women should be “given equal opportunities.”
There were 11 candidates in the running to take the place of Ban — six men and five women.
While Ban did not share his favorite candidate, he said there are “many distinguished, motivated women leaders who can really change this world, who can actively engage with the other leaders of the world.”
Leila de Lima is a Filipino lawyer and senator. She was appointed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights in May 2008. She served the commission until June 30, 2010, after resigning from its chairmanship to accept her appointment by President Benigno S. Aquino III as the Philippines’ new Secretary of the Department of Justice.
She resigned from this office five years later, on October 12, 2015, to focus on her candidacy for a seat in the Senate of the Philippines in what was then an oncoming 2016 Philippine general election. She eventually won one of the twelve contested seats and will serve as a Philippine senator in the Philippines’ 17th Congress.