Okonjo-Iweala reacts as Swiss authorities to sanction newspaper over derogatory headline against her

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), has welcomed the ruling of the Swiss Press Council calling out the Aargauer Zeitung regional newspaper’s headline ‘Grandmother becomes boss of WTO’ as gender biased and sexism.

The headline had generated widespread criticism and condemnations with some describing the newspaper’s headline as alledgedly having racial as well as gender biased motives.

In her reaction, Okonjo-Iweala posted on her facebook page, “I welcome the ruling of the Swiss Press Council calling out the gender bias & sexism of Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung for its headline ‘Grandmother becomes boss of WTO’ upon my appointment.

“It is right to call out sexism, racism or both when you see it!”.

The Swiss Press Council, a self-regulatory media ethics organisation, examined charges that the newspaper’s choice of words had been motivated by gender discrimination or racial discrimination.

Though, in its ruling issued on last Tuesday, the council said it had not been able to determine whether discrimination on the basis of skin colour had played a role.

The paper had during the barrage of outrage apologised, acknowledged that the headline had been “inappropriate and unsuitable”, but this is considered by many as coming a bit too late since damages have already been done.

Dr. Ngozi Okunjo-Iweala from Nigeria, in March this year became the first woman and African to lead the World Trade Organization after serving for over two decades at the World Bank and as finance minister in Nigeria.

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