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You can love Carol Bellamy or you can hate her — there are plenty in both camps — but you can’t say the lady doesn’t like a fight. That, on reflection, is probably one of the reasons the outgoing executive director of UNICEF, the children’s program, is such a polarizing figure.

At last week’s welcoming address to the Commission on the Status of Women, Miss Bellamy, 63, chided the United Nations for failing to appoint enough women to senior posts.

“Women are central to UNICEF’s mission in that their well-being directly impacts families and children. If women are not strong, then families are not strong,” she said. “If families are not strong, children are in jeopardy.

“For this, I have, on occasion, been called a radical feminist. I have been accused of singling out girls and women for preferential treatment,” she said unrepentantly.

Betsy Pisik can be reached by e-mail at