Wonder Woman is No Longer a UN Ambassador

After only two months, Wonder Woman’s position as an honorary United Nations ambassador, meant to represent the empowerment of females, came to an end on December 16. While her time as an honorary ambassador was short, it was filled with controversy.

The campaign was announced in October to celebrate Wonder Woman’s 75th birthday and promote gender equality. According to the U.N., “The campaign is about women and girls everywhere, who are wonder women in their own right, and the men and boys who support their struggle for gender equality, bringing about positive change in their homes, workplace, communities, countries and the world together.” While the message the campaign was trying to send was nice, it was met with a lot of anger, especially due to the timing of the announcement, which came after the appointment of the U.N’s Secretary General.

There has never been a female Secretary General, and this year there were seven women in the running. But the U.N. decided to go with a man instead, a decision announced only a few weeks before Wonder Woman’s appointment, making the appointment seem like “a demeaning consolation prize” according to Anne Marie Goetz, a professor at NYU and a former advisor for the U.N. Women agency. The campaign was receiving so much backlash that there was an online petition created that called for the U.N. to “Reconsider the Choice of Wonder Woman as the U.N.’s Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls” that received nearly 45,000 signatures. The petition argued that Wonder Woman’s highly-sexualized and unattainable appearance makes her a un-inclusive mascot and it offers to give the U.N. “a list of incredible extraordinary women that would formidably carry out this role” since they were seemingly unable to find a real woman to be the honorary ambassador.

However, the U.N. is not citing the backlash as the reason for the campaign ending. In an interview with NPR, a U.N. representative said that the campaign was also meant to end in December and that despite the criticism, he felt the campaign was successful in achieving its goal of promoting gender equality. But Wonder Woman’s position coming to an end has not quieted opponents and it’s obvious that the U.N. has a long way to go in terms of showing their “commitment” to gender equality.

(Hint: a social media campaign featuring a superhero and appointing the first female to a highly regarded position is not the same thing).