UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says despite modest gains women are still underrepresented at the United Nations.
In spite of efforts to bridge the gender gap, women still comprise fewer than 40 percent of all professional and higher level positions at the United Nations, Marie Okabe, a spokeswoman for Annan, said Wednesday.
She added the world organziation has a long way to go to meet the Secretary General's goal of achieving a 50-50 gender balance at all levels and positions in the organization.
However, the percentage of women represented in the Secretariat increased by 1.7 percent in the past year, the most significant gain since 1998, said a report from Annan to the General Assembly.
The report, entitled, "The Improvement of the Status of Women in the U.N. System," blamed slow progress on inadequate recruitment and selection processes as well as the culture of the United Nations, Okabe said.