(S)heroes of the UN


They defend the vulnerable and fight for human rights. They command forces and build coalitions for peace. And they take on the world’s toughest challenges.

Women now make up half of the senior leadership team of the United Nations. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has made gender equity – both within the UN and around the world – a key priority.

Throughout the organization, from field operations to headquarters, women are leading the way in solving problems and creating change. They are our heroes. Or, as we say, (s)heroes.

Learn about women in the UN who are making a difference for their communities and for the world.

Meet the

Dr. Gisele Mvumbi

As the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) battles an Ebola outbreak – the second largest on record – Dr. Gisele Mvumbi serves on the front lines of the effort to track and stop the spread of the virus.

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Anjali Sen

Anjali Sen advocates for the rights and health of girls and women in Yemen and works to meet their needs in her role as the Country Representative to Yemen for UNFPA, the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency.

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Kencho Wangmo

For over a decade, Kencho Wangmo has worked for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Bhutan, from working in administration to monitoring and evaluation to nutrition, gender, and WFP’s flagship school feeding program, she has taken on multiple roles and responsibilities – learning, adapting, and reinventing herself along the way.

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Dr. Soumya Swaminathan

As the Chief Scientist at the WHO, a newly created position at the leading international organization focused on public health, she works to strengthen research on global health issues, as well as advance the use of digital technologies to improve health.


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Mary Alice Hayward

Nuclear energy is a complex field — and it’s one where Mary Alice Hayward has spent her entire career, working both to advance the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to safeguard against its risks.


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Virginia Gamba

She is no stranger to high-pressure jobs. Today, Virginia Gamba is the UN Secretary-General’s point person to advocate for children affected by conflict.


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Jayathma Wickramanayake

She is 28 years old and an advisor to the world’s top diplomat, helping the UN advocate globally for the inclusion of youth.

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Lise grande

Lise Grande coordinates the efforts of organizations across the UN and the aid sector to get lifesaving assistance to people in need.

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Pramila Patten

Pramila Patten works with the UN to break the silence around sexual violence in conflict.

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Nida Yassin

The daughter of a refugee, Nida Yassin has spent her entire professional life working with UNHCR to support people who have been forced to flee their homes.

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Dr. María Neira

As the World Health Organization’s leading voice on the intersection of health, the environment, and climate change, Dr. María Neira has become a powerful advocate for climate action in order to protect human health.

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Ugochi Daniels

Ugochi Daniels serves as the UN Resident Coordinator in Iran, where she leads the UN country team in sustainable development and humanitarian efforts.

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Najat Rochdi

Najat Rochdi is a humanitarian on the front lines of some of the world’s most intense challenges.

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Kirstin Lund

Major General Kristin Lund was the first woman to command a UN Peacekeeping mission.

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LinA Maria Castillo Mendez

Lina Maria Castillo Méndez works toward a Colombia that is free of explosives.

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