By ANDRES OPPENHEIMER
Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is a smart, highly-educated politician, and a skillful negotiator, but I wonder whether she did the right thing in agreeing to head the United Nations’ new agency for women’s rights, scheduled to start operating Jan. 1. She will face formidable obstacles to get things done.
Her $500 million annual budget agency, known as U.N. Women, will bring together four existing U.N. women’s rights organizations that are known to barely talk to one another. And the new agency will be overseen by a 41-country board that includes some of the world’s worst women’s rights offenders, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Congo.
In an interview for a soon-to-be aired TV show, I asked Bachelet how she expects to advance the cause of women’s rights with board members such as Saudi Arabia, where women can’t vote and are even prohibited from driving.