Wonder Woman to become UN champion for women's empowerment and gender equality

Cinema still: Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice starring Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
Cinema still: Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice starring Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. PHOTO: WARNER BROS

Comic book heroine Wonder Woman is set to be named as a new honourary ambassador for the United Nations (UN), reported the BBC.

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

A ceremony on Oct 21 will see DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson accepting the role for her company's comic book, TV and film character, according to the BBC.

The DC Comics site also hinted that actresses who have played Wonder Women will attend the event. They include Lynda Carter, who played the character in a TV series from 1975-79, and Gal Gadot who starred in the Batman v Superman movie this year.

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.

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

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.

However, the UK Women's Equality Party offered a snide barb, saying it was "fittingly comic that the UN could not think of a single human woman who could take on this role".

Party leader Sophie Walker said to the BBC: "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."

The ceremony will be held on the 75th anniversary of the comic book character. Wonder Woman first came to the public's attention in October 1941 after her creation by William Moulton Marston, according to the BBC.

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

The company decided to give her her own title and independence when it was apparent the public had quickly taken to her.

Wonder Woman - an Amazonian from the all-female paradise of Themyscira - lives her daily life as Diana Prince, whose occupations include an army nurse. She showcases her true powers when her services are called on by a society in peril.

Last month, DC Comics writer Greg Rucka postulated Wonder Woman "must be queer", saying she has had relationships with other women, reported the BBC.

Lynda Carter's portrayal of the superhero in the hit US TV series that ran from 1975-79 is still seen by many as the ultimate Wonder Woman.

An upcoming Wonder Woman film starring Gal Gadot of Batman v Superman fame is also due to hit cinemas around the world next year.

Beyond the silver screen however, Wonder Woman is set to be severely tested in her new role.