Among the nine candidate's Sahlin was the only woman, but she did not make it through to the third round in the step-by-step vote to become the next general secretary. However this is the closest that any Swedish candidate has come to land the post.
Sahlin did get an unfortunate start in the nomination process, as the Swedish centre-right government only nominated her after the Swedish trade union giants TCO and LO had committed to supporting the current deputy general director, Guy Ryder from the UK.
The International Labour Organisation sits in Geneva and was established in 1919. It has never had a female secretary general.