NYT Article Profiling WHO Director General Candidates ‘Exemplifies Unfair Treatment Of Women Seeking Power’

Quartz: Word for word, a perfect example of how we treat women seeking power
Annalisa Merelli, reporter at Quartz

“…The list of three finalists in the race to run the WHO includes two men, Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (who came in first, with 30 votes, in a preliminary vote) and the U.K.’s David Nabarro (18 votes), and one woman, Pakistani candidate Sania Nishtar (28 votes). Last week, a New York Times article profiling each candidate added an interesting perspective on the race, notable for how perfectly it exemplifies the unfair treatment of women seeking power. … The profile fails to note that Nishtar was the first female cardiologist in her country, that she has a PhD from King’s College London, that she was key to establishing Pakistan’s ministry of health. [New York Times reporter Donald G.] McNeil does report, however, that ‘when pressed to put her strongest qualification in a sentence, she struggled,’ and sniffs at her use of development jargon. While the other two candidates’ programs are introduced as what they would do ‘as leaders’ of the WHO, the word and its synonyms do not appear in Nishtar’s profile. Unlike the United Nations, which has never been led by a woman, the WHO has had two women at its helm so far: Incumbent Margaret Chan is a Hong Kong-Canadian doctor who has helmed the body for two terms, since 2007. Before Chan, the director general from 1998 to 2003 was former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. In the context of an institution that has opened to women’s leadership, you might expect a more neutral treatment of candidates…” (4/11).

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