League to focus on female leaders Candidates for U.N. chief will be topic of discussion

September 09, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The League of Women Voters of Anne Arundel County will mark the 50th anniversary of the United Nations by discussing the possibility of the first female secretary-general in the history of the international organization.

"We're trying to make women aware that legislative positions are something that they should strive for," said Joan Urbas, league president. "We want people to consider that a woman could be the head of such an important organization."

Equality Now, an international women's organization, has produced a list of six possible female candidates to replace Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

They are Gro Harlem Brundtland, prime minister of Norway; Frene Ginwala, speaker of the South African parliament; Sadako Ogata, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees; Navanethem Pillai, a South African judge on the Rwandan war crimes tribunal; Mary Robinson, president of Ireland; and Leticia Shahani, president of the Senate in the Philippines.

The league will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the West Street branch of the Anne Arundel County Public Library system to discuss this and other issues.

Marilyn Tinsman, chairwoman of the International Relations Committee in Montgomery County, will discuss U.N. peacekeeping missions around the world. Terese Loar, a State Department representative who serves on the President's Interagency Council on Women at the White House, will talk about the progress of women and their concerns.

The league also will discuss the controversy surrounding the United States' refusal to pay its $1 billion debt to the United Nations.

Urbas said the money could be used to fund programs that would empower women worldwide.

"As an organization that is made up mostly of women, we know how important it is for our sisters around the world to get power," she said. "We know that women have to care for their children and that illiteracy could be reduced significantly if we move to help."

Pub Date: 9/09/96

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