Opposition as 'Wonder Woman' is named honorary UN ambassador

A petition claims the image of the superhero is not culturally sensitive

Opposition as 'Wonder Woman' is named honorary UN ambassador

Female superhero Wonder Woman, named by the UN as Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls | Image: DC Entertainment

Wonder Woman, the iconic superhero, has been named an Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls by the United Nations.

But not everyone is happy.

The character will be tasked with raising awareness about UN Sustainable Development Goals, one of which seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.

UN under-secretary-general for communications, Cristina Gallach, said: "While we have achieved progress towards gender equality in many parts of the world, women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence.

"Gender equality is a fundamental human right and a foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world".

The campaign is also supported by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros.

"(It) is an example of how we are working with diverse partners and making new alliances to reach out to audiences everywhere to know about and understand the goals, and, in this case, about gender equality", Gallach added.

Under-Secretary-General for Communications Cristina Gallach (centre) and original Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter (second left) at the designation of Wonder Woman as the Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls | Image: UN Photo/Kim Haughton

However, hundreds of staff at the UN have signed a petition against the move, saying it should be reconsidered.

The petition claims: "Wonder Woman was created 75 years ago. Although the original creators may have intended Wonder Woman to represent a strong and independent 'warrior' woman with a feminist message, the reality is that the character’s current iteration is that of a large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee high boots –the epitome of a 'pin-up' girl.

"This is the character that the United Nations has decided to represent a globally important issue.

"The image that Wonder Woman projects (life-size cut outs of which have already appeared at UNHQ) is not culturally encompassing or sensitive - attributes the United Nations expects all its staff members to embody in the core value of respect for diversity".

The UN, however, says Wonder Woman's strength and fight for justice and peace will help to focus the campaign's attention in five key areas:

  • Speaking out against discrimination and limitations on women and girls
  • Joining forces with others against gender-based violence and abuse
  • Supporting full and effective participation and equal opportunity for women and girls in leadership in all spheres of life - including the workplace
  • Ensuring all women and girls have access to quality learning
  • Sharing examples of real life women and girls who are making a difference every day

The campaign launches on the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman's first appearance in a comic book in 1941.