The United Nations has appointed superhero icon ‘Wonder Woman’ as the honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls even after much opposition. “This is the most fun the UN has had, I’m pretty sure right?” Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment said at a ceremony appointing Wonder Woman as the ambassador, reports the Guardian. The ceremony was meant to honor the fight for gender inequality and the 75th anniversary of the character. However, the UN staff members protested against the appointment both inside the event and in the lobby of the building. It was announced that Wonder Woman would become an honorary ambassador earlier this month, in support of the UN’s sustainable development goal number five – “to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.
The announcement was met with both praise and criticism, and a petition was created by “Concerned United Nations staff members” asking the UN chief to reconsider. “The bottom line appears to be that the United Nations was unable to find a real-life woman that would be able to champion the rights of all women on the issue of gender equality and the fight for their empowerment. The United Nations has decided that Wonder Woman is the role model that women and girls all around the world should look up to,” the petition read. It also mentioned concerns over her “overtly sexualized image” that is not “culturally encompassing or sensitive”.
One of the woman protestor said, “For something that is this important, you need a woman or a man who can speak, somebody who can travel, somebody who can champion these rights, somebody who is able to have an opinion, somebody that can be interviewed, somebody that can stand up in front of 192 member states and say this is what we would like you to do.” Another woman protestor said that Wonder Woman is a poor and was akin to “pop culture imperialism”.
Cristina Gallach, UN under secretary general for communications and public information, who attended on behalf of the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, explaining the choice of Wonder Woman said, “I don’t need to tell you Wonder Woman is an icon. She has been known for justice, peace and equality and we are very pleased that this character will help us reach new audiences with essential messages about empowerment and equality.” The choice of a fictional honorary ambassador is not new as previously, Winnie the Pooh was chosen as an ambassador for International Day of Friendship, and a character from Angry Birds was chosen for International Day of Happiness.