Phumzile Mlambo-NgcukaUnited Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. She was sworn into office on 19 August 2013, and brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this position, having devoted her career to issues of human rights, equality and social justice. Previously, Mlambo-Ngcuka worked in government and civil society, as well as the private sector, and was actively involved in the struggle to end Apartheid in her home country of South Africa.
From 2005 to 2008, she served as Deputy President of South Africa, overseeing programmes to combat poverty and bring the advantages of a growing economy to the poor, with a particular focus on women. Prior to this, Mlambo-Ngcuka served as Minister of Minerals and Energy from 1999 to 2005, and Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry from 1996 to 1999. She was a Member of Parliament from 1994 to 1996 as part of South Africa’s first democratic government.
Mlambo-Ngcuka began her career as a teacher, and gained international experience as a coordinator at the World Young Women’s Christian Association (World YWCA) in Geneva, where she established a global programme for young women. She is the founder of the Umlambo Foundation, which supports leadership and education. A long-time champion of women’s rights, she is affiliated with several organisations devoted to education, women’s empowerment and gender equality.
She completed her PhD on education and technology at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom.