Gender Team: What are some of the changes and progress you have seen in terms of promoting gender equality since the adoption of the first UNOV/UNODC Gender Mainstreaming Strategy? Are there any moments and achievements that stand out?
Dennis Thatchaichawalit: One outstanding moment for me was when we reached overall parity in UNOV in 2018. This was a visible and important achievement. Activities like the early career initiative for women, which won the UNOV/UNODC Gender Award, have led us to where we are today. This has been further strengthened by the effective usage of flexible working arrangements across our organization, supported by the Enabling Environment Guidelines which we launched for both UNOV and UNODC in cooperation with UN Women in 2019.
I would also like to point out the fantastic progress in our UN Security and Safety Service Vienna, which is historically a very male dominated environment. 2021 was the first year in which 88% of the new recruits were female and the service has successfully increased the gender parity to 31% female security officers. Moreover, it marks the first time in which UN Security and Safety Service Vienna management has had three out of four female managers. Throughout the years the service has also been consistently empowering female officers in reaching command positions and in 2021, UN SSS Vienna has reached a milestone with 40% of security lieutenants (G-6 level) being female. The progress is supported by efforts such as outreach webinars targeted at female security officers, which were an unexpected and huge success.
Gender Team: What do you think are the next big steps towards closing the gender gap in the work that your Division does and where would you like to be in 2026 in terms of gender equality?
Dennis Thatchaichawalit: As a next step, we need to maintain the positive trend in ensuring that gender parity is reached and sustained across different levels, staff categories and take into account the representation of different groups of women, e.g. from under and unrepresented countries. To achieve this, we will continue our efforts in creating an enabling environment for all personnel, along with a focus on retaining and grooming internal female talent for senior positions. We will continue to promote a zero-tolerance culture for prohibited conduct as well as our outreach measures and intensify our culture changing initiatives. The Division of Management has a special role in this regard, as we not only focus our efforts on our own staff but support and enable both UNOV, UNODC and other offices throughout this culture change. We need to have the vision, the strategic mindset and the determination to steadily keep pushing and developing the next generations.
Gender Team: How do you view the role of leadership in successfully promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in UNOV/UNODC’s work and its working environment?
Dennis Thatchaichawalit: It is up to us as leaders to actively demonstrate our support for women’s empowerment wherever possible and show zero tolerance for any form of discrimination or harassment. Particularly in male dominated working environments, we as leaders are in the position to create a culture amongst ourselves that invites women to sit at the table and point out any potential conscious or unconscious gender biases that persist and thereby shape an inclusive institutional culture. We need to ensure that we not only voice our support but walk the talk accordingly to act as role models for others.