President of United Nations General Assembly and Foreign Minister of the Maldives Abdullah Shahid has called for the next UN Secretary-General to be a woman.

He made this call while speaking at the opening of the 66th Commission on the Status of Women.

Shahid said that women in recent years have entered the labor market in large numbers and that free trade together with the rapid expansion of global supply chains have undoubtedly created unprecedented opportunities for women to access paid work.

However, he said that this expansion has often been on unequal and highly exploitative terms.

Shahid said that gender-based discrimination and segregation in the labor market, as well as weak regulations, have served to confine women to jobs that are low paid, and of poor quality in terms of working conditions and access to social protection.

He also said that women’s exploitation in the labor market is further compounded by their disproportional share of unpaid care responsibilities and that the result is that women’s unpaid household and care work subsidizes the economy for free.

In his remarks, Shahid highlighted that just four women have been elected President of the United Nations General Assembly in its 76 years and that no woman has ever been chosen as the Secretary-General.

Saying that it needs to be corrected, he went on to call for the next United Secretary-General to be a woman.