On 10 July 2013, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, following consultation with Member States, announced the appointment of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of South Africa as Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-Women). Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka replaced Michelle Bachelet.
The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude for the outgoing Executive Director’s commitment in spearheading the Organization’s work on gender equality and the empowerment of women at the global, regional and country level. He is particularly appreciative of Ms. Bachelet’s exemplary leadership as the first Executive Director of UN-Women.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka brings to the position a wealth of experience in advocating for women’s issues with a combination of strategic leadership, consensus building and hands-on management experience. She was the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka 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.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka was Young Women’s Coordinator for the World Young Women’s Christian Association in Geneva (1984-1986) and served as the first President of the Natal Organization of Women, an affiliate of the United Democratic Front, when it was formed in December 1983. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka established Umlambo Foundation in 2008 to provide support to schools in impoverished areas in South Africa through mentorship and coaching for teachers and in Malawi through school improvements with local partners.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka holds a Master of Philosophy in educational planning and policy from the University of Cape Town (2003) and a Bachelor of Arts in education from the University of Lesotho (1980). In 2003, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Western Cape.
Born in 1955, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka is married with three children.