Actors Gal Gadot and Lynda Carter got big cheers – and a few jeers — for taking part in an event that named the Wonder Woman superhero character as an honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls.
Wonder Woman was chosen to highlight gender equality and women’s empowerment – and simultaneously celebrate the 75th anniversary of the fictional demigoddess character.
“Wonder Woman seeks to promote strength, wisdom, leadership, justice and love. Qualities that combined make us the very best that we can be,” Gadot told the UN body. “Sometimes we need something or someone to inspire us . . . a character like Wonder Woman or a real live superhero in your own world.”
Championing women’s rights is something this former Miss Israel has been doing since she was chosen to play Wonder Woman in the 2017 film. She participated in a video clip celebrating accomplished young Israeli women. And the actress-model-mom has spoken publicly about shifting the princess role model into a strong, kindhearted role model who can stick up for herself.
Gadot and Carter were guests of honor at the ceremony at the United Nations headquarters on October 21. Achieving equal rights and gender equality is one of the global body’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals to better the world by 2030.
“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals . . . seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. The goals and targets will stimulate action over the next 15 years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet,” according to a UN General Assembly statement.
“The women and girls who rise up for a better world, and the men and boys who support and stand with them, are superheroes in their own right.”
The slogan of the new campaign is “Think of all the wonders we can do.”
Some UN staff members and women’s rights groups reportedly saw no merit in the pick, noting that the “overtly sexualized image” of Wonder Woman is not “culturally encompassing” to promote the rights of all women.
“Although the original creators may have intended Wonder Woman to represent a strong and independent ‘warrior’ woman with a feminist message, the reality is that the character’s current iteration is that of a large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit,” reads a petition to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reconsider the choice.
But Carter, who played the DC Comics heroine in the 1970s television series, said she “couldn’t think of a more perfect role for her,” noting that Wonder Woman can be “smart and beautiful and strong and wise and kind and brave.”
UN officials hope their new campaign for women’s empowerment will draw in a younger audience.
“Wonder Woman is an icon,” said UN Under-Secretary-General Cristina Gallach. “We are very pleased that this character will help us reach new audiences with essential messages of our empowerment and equality.”