The United Nations on Friday officially named the popular comic-book character Wonder Woman as the Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls.

“Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but also a foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world, and Wonder Woman will be another valuable partner for us to achieve such a world by inspiring her millions of fans worldwide to stand up for gender equality,” EFE news quoted the UN under-secretary-general for communications and public information Spain’s Cristina Gallach as saying.

The choice of the comic character, however, has sparked complaints among some UN personnel and representatives of various countries, who say it would be much more appropriate to use a real live person to represent women and girls.

Dozens of officials and diplomats protested against the decision on Friday during the presentation of this collaboration of the United Nations with DC Entertainment, owner of rights to the superheroine.

The United Nations, Gallach said on Friday, believes the use of Wonder Woman “will help us reach a broad audience to stand up for action on improving gender equality”.

The organisation’s spokeswoman, Stephane Dujarric, also recalled that the UN has many real women as honorary ambassadors, and Wonder Woman just joins their ranks.

“I think this is a new and creative way for us to reach a different audience with critical messages about women’s empowerment,” EFE news quoted Dujarric as saying.

Among other celebrities, the United Nations collaborates on gender equality issues with Queen Mathilde of Belgium, activists Graca Machel and Alaa Murabit, and actresses Emma Watson and Charlize Theron.

The comic-book character will be part of a campaign to promote the goals of gender equality included in the Sustainable Development Goals approved in 2015 by the UN to replace the Millennium Development Goals.

According to the United Nations, Wonder Woman will remind everyone of the collective achievements that are possible through the empowerment of women, and that everyone everywhere can lend a hand.

Taking part in the event held on Friday at UN headquarters were, among others, actresses Lynda Carter — who played Wonder Woman on television in the 1970s — and Gal Gadot, the new superheroine.