00:24 GMT +317 February 2019
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    Comic Relief: Wonder Woman Becomes New Honorary UN Ambassador

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    Wonder Woman has been named as the United Nations' honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. The character, first seen in print 75 years ago, will front a campaign promoting women’s rights and gender equality. The appointment has however, received a backlash with notable people signing petition to reconsider it.

    Wonder Woman was unveiled in a ceremony at the UN on Friday which was attended by actors who have played her on screen.

    Using the slogan “think of all the wonders we can do”, the campaign aims to promote the achievements coming from female empowerment.

    The character became the face of the campaign for the implementation of Goal 5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which seeks to achieve gender equality by 2030.

    “While we have achieved progress towards gender equality in many parts of the world, women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence. Gender equality is a fundamental human right and a foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world,” UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Cristina Gallach said during a ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York.

    She further noted that today women and girls continue to suffer from discrimination and violence and many of them are deprived of access to school and do not receive a decent salary.

    “We are delighted that Wonder Woman joined our ranks and fight for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls,” Gallach said.

    The campaign, supported by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros., “is an example of how we are working with diverse partners and making new alliances to reach out to audiences everywhere to know about and understand the Goals, and, in this case, about gender equality,” she said.

    ​Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment and of Warner Bros. Consumer Products said that, “Supporting the United Nations campaign for female empowerment is a weighty responsibility and one that all of us at DC and Warner Bros. are proud to take on.”

    ​However, the unusual appointment caused a backlash among UN staff members. Some of them staged a silent protest at the chamber of the honoring event. Others gathered in the visitor’s lobby of the UN and held signs reading “Let’s get real” or “real women deserve a real ambassador”.

    Meanwhile, over one thousand eight hundred people have signed an online petition calling on outgoing secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to reconsider the choice of the Honorary Ambassador.

    Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the City College of New York and the chair of the Campaign to Elect a Woman UN Secretary-General, Dr. Jean Krasno, told Radio Sputnik why many, including her, oppose the controversial appointment of Wonder Woman to the honorary post.

    “Women are not a two-dimension cartoon. The visual image of Wonder Woman is really a sex object. She stands in a bikini with a cleavage, in high boots and has a US flag on her back. This is really insulting,” Krasno said.

    She further noted that her selection was quite strange because no one is taking credit for who actually selected Wonder Woman.

    On the other hand, the UN received some kudos from the feminist quarter. The Mary Sue, a feminist comic’s site, applauded the choice saying, “Wonder Woman is a great, easily recognizable symbol of what women can become once freed from a patriarchal society.”

    Some media also carefully pointed out that the “outfit issue” must not be given so much attention and people need to look beyond the superficial.

    ​Lela Gilbert, adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, wrote, “We all definitely need to look beyond the superficial. I, for one, am all for a beautiful, sexy, strong, kind, loving and heroic female, comic or otherwise, serving as a role model for girls and young women all around the world.”

    She added that Wonder Woman is 75 years old and she’s still rocking the bright red bustier and shorts. That is quite an inspiration in itself!


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    women's rights, campaign, interview, discrimination, DC Comics, United Nations, World