Students of the International Relations class at Utah Valley University had the opportunity to attend a presentation given by Mrs. Gail Binley-Taylor Sainte, who presented about the role of United Nations, and the role of genders as an integral part of the bureaucratic agency on Thursday, March 8, 2018. She also focused on specific programs at the United Nations that work to address humanitarian issues, civil rights issues, and ongoing unjust equality issues. Mrs. Binley-Taylor Sainte has rich background, serving as the Deputy Chief of Public Information of the diplomatic mission based in Ethiopia for several years. She also served as an information officer of NGO relations at the United Nations. Since her induction into the United Nations Mrs. Binley-Taylor Sainte has always been involved in many various staff activities: first as a staff representative, then eventually as part of the staff union. She has also served as the First Vice-President as well as Secretary in that organization. Finally, she has served on several staff-management bodies including the former Appointment and Promotion Committee, the General Service Classification Committee, and the Central Examination Board. In a recent development, Mrs. Binley-Taylor Sainte’s department elected her as the Focal Point for Women. In addition, she belongs to the mentoring program at the United Nations, serving alongside three mentees under my supervision, all of whom continue to do well in the system.
With a 30-year career as an information officer, Mrs. Binley-Taylor Sainte has developed her expertise in foreign policy always with a singular focus to empower women. She states that it is important to continue allowing women to speak in an unprecedented way in order to help continue the path towards equality between genders. She stated that a few of the main issues that women face are a lack of upward mobility, lack of career prospects for those who are in specialized jobs, the lack of more training opportunities, the inability to take advantage of all the work and life arrangements with ease and without fear of injury to reputation or career, lack of adequate childcare support for working mothers at all levels, lack of recognition for consistently good performance, and finally poor evaluations for which there is little recourse.
Mrs. Binley-Taylor Sainte then explained a few of the best practices in promoting gender diversity within the United Nations: first, to promote practices that allow staff to see visible signs of diversity, whether that be through posters that the organization releases publicly or through information placed on the internet; second, videos that raise awareness and are distributed in key places around the Secretariat like the cafeteria or near the Credit Union, places where people can see visible signs of what is happening regarding gender issues; and lastly, brown-bag style lunches around gender issues that could be organized across divisions. Other ideas include panel discussions that could be held on major occasions like International Women’s Day or a major campaign that could be conducted to identify the department with the most gender-diverse environment, involving all the focal points and their respective managers working together to come up with the winning ideas. Another idea could be a Diversity Day at United Nations headquarters that would be designed and devoted to displaying all the achievements of equality to date.
All aforementioned ideas are aimed at communicating the importance of a gender-diverse environment. Mrs. Binley-Taylor Sainte stressed that this can be done if implementers of policy can see how they play a pivotal role in empowering women. Men and top managers need to see themselves as part of the change, additionally they must see it as beneficial to them as equal partners of qualified women working together to improve the quality of life within the workplace. Mrs. Binley-Taylor Sainte is a perfect example of the voice that needs to be heard.
It was a very good and important conversation with such a high level VIP-guest which took place thanks to a new Utah Valley University partnership with the United Nations Department of Public Information. I am looking forward to attending more this type of insightful presentations hosted by the UVU Global Engagement office.
Cory Levin, UVU Student