Grabar-Kitarovic declines comment on her candidacy for NATO secretary-general

NEWS 05.04.2022 14:48
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Source: JACQUES DEMARTHON / AFP

Former Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Tuesday would not give an answer when asked if she saw herself as the next NATO Secretary-General, saying the appointment should be based on qualifications and not on gender.

The moderator of a panel discussion at the US-Croatia Forum focusing on the representation of women in the security and economy sectors asked the former president if time had come for NATO to have a woman secretary-general and if she saw herself in that role.

“The next NATO Secretary-General must be chosen exclusively based on their work, education, ethics, competence, experience, and all the other aspects we insist on when selecting someone for a position,” she said.

“You have nothing to add?” the moderator asked.

“Nothing to add. We can discuss the women’s quota, but that is an entirely different matter,” said the former president, who some say is a potential successor to current NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Grabar-Kitarovic said earlier at the panel that NATO was the most women-friendly of all environments she had worked in, where she was treated “as a person, not as a woman.”

She noted that it had been her experience so far that she had to use much more energy than her male colleagues to be taken seriously in the same posts, calling on media not to treat women in positions of power differently than their male colleagues and noting that her statements had on many occasions been taken out of context, as well as that the media scene was often misogynistic and sexist.

When someone feels insulted on ethnic grounds, that is hate speech, but that is not the case when insults are based on a person’s sex, she said.

“I’m far from being satisfied with the world we live in and am determined to work on a fairer society for all daughters, sisters and other women,” she said, noting that education is the key.

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