73rd President of the UN General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, becomes an International Gender Champion

María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés becomes an International Gender Champion. The former Foreign Minister, and former Defence Minister of Ecuador, officially took office as President of the UN General Assembly, becoming the fourth woman to assume the post, and first Latin American woman to occupy the position. 

International Gender Champion Miroslav Lajčák’s term as President of the 72nd session of the General Assembly officially came to an end on 17 September 2018. We thank him for his leadership and commitment to women's rights and representation.

The IGC warmly congratulates Lajčák’s successor, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés of Ecuador, as a Gender Champion, and is inspired to hear her strong statement that gender equality is at the top of her Presidency agenda.

Since I am only the fourth woman to occupy this position in 73 years of the life of the United Nations I wish to reiterate that I dedicate this Presidency to all the women of the world. To all those women engaged in policy and politics. To those women who are fighting for accessing jobs and equal footing with men. For those women and girl children who are victims of violence, and girls and adolescents clamoring for access to quality information and education.  Three great women presided over this Assembly in the last 72 years Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit from India in 1953, Angie Brooks from Liberia in 1969, and Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa from Bahrain in 2006. My tribute and homage to them and to their legacy to this organization.

Gender equality and empowering women must continue to be a priority until it is actually achieved. In all the foras available to me I will be pushing for the empowering of women and girl children. Life is better for everyone when each person, without discrimination, has access on an equal footing to all human rights.

During this session of the General Assembly we will commemorate 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, perhaps one of the most important Resolutions ever adopted by this Assembly, in that it signaled the beginning of a new era, one of the universalization of human rights. Sometimes we fail to realize that each day through the   Resolutions adopted in this hall that we make history. Let us continue to make history and build a world that is more equal and free, more sustainable and respectful of nature, more inclusive and caring. Thank you very much.

As for María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés being only the fourth woman to hold the position of President of the GA, Miroslav Lajčák remarked in June 2018, “Frankly, four out of 73 is not a record to be proud of. But I am glad we are getting ourselves on track.”

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