Entertainment & Arts

Wonder Woman to become UN women's champion

Wonder Woman Image copyright AP/Getty/Warner Bros
Image caption Wonder Woman has been depicted in comic book form and played by Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot

Comic book heroine Wonder Woman is to be named as a new honorary ambassador for the United Nations (UN).

The character will be used to promote messages about women's empowerment and gender-based violence, the UN said.

DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson will accept the role for her company's comic book, TV and film character at a ceremony on 21 October.

The DC comics site hinted that actresses who have played Wonder Women will also attend the event.

The campaign is being sponsored by Warner Bros and DC Entertainment who are supporting the UN and Unicef's year-long campaign for gender equality and women's empowerment.

The UN has itself come under some criticism for having a lack of gender parity in senior roles. Despite campaigns there has never been a female Secretary General and one analysis found that in 2015 nine of 10 senior leadership jobs went to men.

Comics site The Mary Sue welcomed the announcement. "Wonder Woman is a great, easily-recognisable symbol of what women can become once freed from a patriarchal society", it said.

But the UK Women's Equality Party said it was "fittingly comic that the UN could not think of a single human woman who could take on this role".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Lego lady: The character featured at this year's Comic-Con International in San Diego, California

Party leader Sophie Walker said: "I meet extraordinary women every day: women who have survived violence, or defied gender norms to ascend to the top of a hostile industry, or blazed a trail in the arts or media or sport or health.

"These women are truly superheroes. They don't wear hotpants, they don't have the power to wield Thor's hammer - they change lives, and they are the role models our young people need to see."

'Test her appeal'

The ceremony will be held on the 75th anniversary of the comic book character. Created by William Moulton Marston she first came to the public's attention in October 1941.

DC Comics said her story was "meant to test her appeal at a time when female superheroes were rare".

When it became clear the public had quickly taken to her, the company decided to give her her own title and independence.

Wonder Woman - an Amazonian from the all-female paradise of Themyscira - masquerades as Diana Prince, whose occupations include an army nurse, until her services are called on by a society in peril.

Last month DC Comic writer Greg Rucka claimed Wonder Woman "must be queer", saying she has had relationships with other women.

She was most famously played by actress Lynda Carter in the hit US TV series that ran from 1975-79. Carter's depiction of the superhero is still seen by many as the ultimate Wonder Woman.

There is also an upcoming Wonder Woman film starring Gal Gadot of Batman v Superman fame, due out in the UK next year.

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