Home More Masters of Industries Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Resumes WTO Director-General Role as she Calls for ‘Respect’
Masters of Industries - March 1, 2021

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Resumes WTO Director-General Role as she Calls for ‘Respect’

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala walked into the World Trade Organisation’s office earlier this morning on her very first day of work as the new Director General of the WTO. Pictures that were shared on the Twitter have since gone viral, garnering over twelve thousand likes and numerous retweets.

Recall that on February 15th, 2021, Dr Iweala was confirmed and officially named as the new Director-General of the WTO after months-long-campaigning. She emerged victorious against all odds, including former President Donald Trump’s attempt to influence the process by openly endorsing Iweala’s contender in the race, Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea.

Last month, Yoo dropped out of the race, thereby paving the way for Iweala’s confirmation. And even though she (Dr Iweala) was always widely preferred as the ‘right woman for the job’, her eventual victory was met with muffled objection in some quarters. Just hours ago, she had to publicly address a recent controversial and sexist headline by German-language newspaper, Aargauer Zeitung, which said: “This grandma will be the new chief of the World Trade Organisation”.


Sharing the screenshot of a public apology that was issued by editors of the newspaper following a public backlash, Dr Okonjo-Iweala thanked those who drew attention to the controversial headline. She also made it clear that every problematic perception of women’s capability upon assumption of pubic offices must always be called out and renounced, because women deserve a better standard than that.

I’m thankful to all my sisters, UN Women Leaders and the 124 Ambassadors in Geneva who signed the petition on calling out the racist & sexist remarks in this newspaper. It is important & timely that they’ve apologized. We need to call out this behavior when it happens. This is precisely what my book Women & Leadership coauthored with Julia Gillard talks about – the stereotypes women face when they take on leadership positions…”

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