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Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Irina Bokova, director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, September 2010.

(WOMENSENEWS)—Along one wall in the visitor's lobby of the United Nations hang the portraits of eight men, including Ban Ki-moon, the current secretary-general, who have presided over the institution since it was founded in 1945.

A new portrait is due to appear on that wall soon and there is a pretty good chance it will bear the visage of a woman.

Three out of the seven officially declared candidates for the next secretary-general are women (more candidates may be nominated over the coming weeks). And while it is not the first time a woman has been in the running for the job, it is the first time that one, let alone three, has a viable chance of getting it.

Here's a closer look at the three female candidates:

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Coauthored by Ambassador Melanne Verveer, co-author of Fast Forward and co-founder of Seneca Women

During a recent conference on women’s role in leading change, journalist Christiane Amanpour noted that women bring dignity and resistance to regions and countries in conflict. The challenges we face around the world affect all of us - women and men alike. “If there’s no equality between women and men,” she said, “there is no progress.”

Christiane raises an important point. There is growing recognition that women’s empowerment is vital to our global economy. The United Nations this year announced the first high-level panel focused on improving economic outcomes for women and their leadership in advancing sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The announcement came during the World Economic Forum in Davos, where women leaders made up 18 percent of the participants - more than ever before, but still falls short.

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Dr Zebib Yenus winner of 2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Sub-Saharan Africa

L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Sub-Saharan Africa 2015 program honors Africa’s female scientists, and one of the exceptional scientists from across Sub-Saharan Africa was Dr Zebib Yenus. Dr Zebib was awarded this prestigious award on Wednesday, 2 December 2015. This prestigious Award Ceremony took place on the evening of 2 December at The Venue in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg. She is among the three postdoctoral and other doctoral fellows who have been named as winners of the 2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO Regional Fellowships For Women in Science in Sub-Saharan Africa. Other winners include from South Africa, and Nigeria.

Dr Zebib is a young postdoctoral fellow at UNISA via UNESCO-UNISA African chair in Nano-science and Nanotechnology, and iThemba LABS National Research Foundation of South Africa. She also has an international collaboration with Ohio state university – USA, University of Alberta - Canada, Katholic University Leuven-Belgium, University of Bologna- Italy and others. Dr Zebib is the first from Ethiopia to receive this award at a postdoctoral level.  

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Ethiopian Prof. Yalemtsehay Mekonnen has won the 2015 African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards for her scientific achievement and valuable discoveries and findings that have contributed to the development agenda of the Continent.

Prof. Merzouk Hafida from Algeria also received the award representing the North region. The award ceremony took place on 20 January 2016 during the closing of the 8th African Union Gender Pre-Summit.

The prestigious African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards programme was launched on 9 September 2008, with the objective to give out scientific awards to top African scientists particularly the women.

The two female laureates of the AU Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards received a cheque of 20,000 USD each, a gold plate medal, a certificate and flowers from the representatives of the AU Commission.

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    The Missing Middle What is the missing middle? Developing countries have a large number of microenterprises and some large firms, but far fewer…
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