INTERNATIONAL: UN Women Appoints South Africa's Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as New Head

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
The Guardian
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security

The former deputy president of South Africa, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, was named the new head of UN Women on Wednesday.

Mlambo-Ngcuka takes over as executive director from Michelle Bachelet, who resigned in March to run for another term as president of Chile.

Announcing the decision at the UN midday press conference, a spokesman for the UN general secretary, Ban Ki-moon, said: "Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka brings to this position a wealth of experience in advocating for women's issues with a combination of strategic leadership, consensus building and hands-on management experience."

Mlambo-Ngcuka became an MP in South Africa in 1994, becoming deputy minister in the department of trade and industry two years later, and then energy minister in 1999. In 2005, she became the first woman to hold the position of deputy president, the highest office occupied by a woman in South Africa. She remained in the post until 2008.

Before her political career, Mlambo-Ngcuka was the first president of the Natal Organisation of Women, an affiliate of the United Democratic Front. The aim of the organisation, founded in 1983, is to increase women's empowerment and promote women's rights. In 2008, she established the Umlambo Foundation to support schools in poor areas of South Africa through mentoring and coaching for teachers.

She is expected to take up her position at UN Women in August.