The newly confirmed Director General of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has accepted the apology from a Swiss newspaper that branded the Nigerian former Finance Minister as a grandmother.
She responded to the apology in a tweet on Monday, saying, “It is important & timely that they’ve apologized.”
Despite recording 25 years’ experience at the World Bank, when Swiss newspapers wanted to declare her confirmation as the new WTO boss, they called her a grandmother.
The headline of the article published by the Aargauer Zeitung and several other papers on February 9 read, “This grandmother will become the boss of the WTO.”
The headline prompted many women heading UN agencies and more than 120 ambassadors in Geneva to sign a petition as they described the headline as racist and sexist.
Following the petition, the newspaper apologized for the headline in a statement released by the paper’s foreign editor-in-chief Samuel Schumacher.
Part of the statement read, “This headline was inappropriate and unsuitable… We apologize for this editorial mistake.”
In reaction to the apology, Okonjo-Iweala appreciated the women for sponsoring the petition as a way of ending all forms of discriminations against women in leadership.
She “thanked all my sisters, UN Women Leaders and the 124 Ambassadors in Geneva who signed the petition on calling out the racist & sexist remarks in this newspaper.”
“We need to call out this behaviour when it happens,” she insisted, decrying “the stereotypes women face when they take on leadership positions.