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South Africa’s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Appointed For a Second Term as Executive Director of UN Women


A hearty congratulations to South Africa’s Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka who has been appointed for a second term as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women) for a period of four years.

Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the Inauguration of UN Women liaison office at UN Geneva. Credit: Flickr/ ITU Pictures

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka as the Under Secretary -General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women) for a period of four years.

In a press statement the UN said, Secretary-General António Guterres made the decision following consultations with Member States and the Executive Board of UN Women.

“This renewed term is our opportunity to reflect constructively, build our momentum, and surge ahead. In these years we are going to be putting our new Strategic Plan 2018-2021 into practice, supporting Member States and our diverse partners to accelerate their implementation of the 2030 Agenda with gender equality and women’s empowerment and full realization of their rights at its heart,” said Mrs Mlambo-Ngcuka.

She also said, they would celebrate the 10th anniversary of their establishment and drive hard towards this and the other key milestones of 2020 as a firm platform for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Under her leadership, the UN organ has played a significant role in ensuring that women are put at the forefront of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and that the responsibility of ending gender inequality became everyone’s responsibility. It is under her leadership that the HeForShe campaign was launched. This is an initiative whose goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change by encouraging them to take action against negative inequalities faced by women and girls.

Mlambo-Ngcuka’s work has also been influential in transforming discriminatory laws, unequal pay and unpaid care work, violence against women, disenfranchisement, and conflict and humanitarian crises, through flagship programming that coordinates response through the UN system.

Mlambo-Ngcuka has also praised the high calibre of staffer at UN Women. She said, “Their energy and dedication keep us going through all the challenges, and make our organization what it is. Together with Member States and all our partners, we are fiercely ambitious for the women and girls of this world, and positive that greater equality bears fruit for all.”

Before joining UN Women, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka worked with women and girls in different capacities in civil society and as a public representative. Her work has focused on political and economic rights as well as girls’ education. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s experience includes promoting gender equality for women in both the private and the public sectors. She was involved in her country’s struggle against Apartheid. As World YWCA coordinator for young women’s programmes, she worked with young women all over the world.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, contributes her views to the Broadband Commission Working Group on Broadband & Gender, New York. Credit: Flickr/ ITU Pictures

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka was the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008.  She initially became a Member of Parliament in 1994, chairing the Public Service Portfolio Committee.  She was Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry (1996-1999), Minister of Minerals and Energy (1999-2005), and briefly served as acting Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in 2004. In all her portfolios she was actively involved in policy and legislation that impacted positively on the lives of women and girls. She holds a PhD in technology-based education.

According to UN Women, before joining UN Women, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka worked with women and girls in different capacities in civil society and as a public representative. Her work has focused on political and economic rights as well as girls’ education; her experience includes promoting gender equality for women in both the private and the public sectors. She was involved in her country’s struggle against Apartheid. As World YWCA coordinator for young women’s programmes, she worked with young women all over the world.

She was also the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008.  She initially became a Member of Parliament in 1994, chairing the Public Service Portfolio Committee.  She served as Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry (1996-1999), Minister of Minerals and Energy (1999-2005), and briefly served as acting Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in 2004. She holds a PhD in technology-based education.

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