Lunch with Sumiko: Noeleen Heyzer on marriage, feminism and how she rose up the UN career ladder

Noeleen Heyzer's memoir looks back at how she overcame a difficult childhood to scale the career ladder at the United Nations.

Dr Noeleen Heyzer overcame a difficult childhood to scale the career ladder at the United Nations. She says she has always felt compelled to speak out for those who can’t.

Back in the 1990s when Noeleen Heyzer was in charge of Unifem, a United Nations agency that helped women, people meeting her for the first time would often be surprised.

"There was always a big joke that when I got down from the plane, people said, 'Oh my god, we thought that we were receiving this very tall, redhead woman, and here you come'," she says, laughing at the memory.

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