July 11, 2013
South Africa’s former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was named as the head of UN Women. From the AP:
Mlambo-Ngcuka, a former member of parliament and longtime women’s rights advocate, succeeds former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet as executive director of UN Women.
Ban spokesman Martin Nesirky announced the appointment, saying “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.”
Bachelet was the first head of UN Women, which was created in July 2010 by the General Assembly to combine four U.N. bodies dealing with the advancement of women under a single umbrella. She returned to Chile to run for president again.
Mlambo-Ngcuka, 57, was elected to parliament in South Africa’s first multiracial elections in 1994 in which Nelson Mandela led the African National Congress party to victory.
She was a member of the African National Congress’ national executive committee from 1997 to 2007. She also served as deputy minister in the Department of Trade and Industry from 1996-1999, minister of minerals and energy from 1999-2005, and deputy president from 2005 to 2008 when Thabo Mbeki was president.
Mlambo-Ngcuka established the Umlambo Foundation in 2008 to provide support to schools in impoverished areas in South Africa and Malawi.
Earlier in her career, she served as the first president of South Africa’s Natal Organisation of Women, an affiliate of the United Democratic Front anti-apartheid movement. She then worked as the World Young Women’s Christian Association youth director in Geneva before returning to South Africa, where she worked to promote economic development and skills training and help squatter women.