Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, a former South African Deputy President, has been appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the head of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women.
Mlambo-Ngcuka, who stepped into the position replaces Michelle Bach-elet, who resigned in March to pur-sue a presidential bid in her country Chile.
UN Women was formed in 2011 leading UN’s work on advancing gen-der equality and women’s rights, an area that Mlambo-Ngcuka knows well having worked at grassroots levels on gender equality in South Africa and eventually becoming the first-ever female Deputy President in 2005.
"Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka brings to this position a wealth of experience in advo-cating for women's issues, with a combination of strategic leadership, consensus building and hands-on management experience," a UN spokesman said.
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 Democ-ratic Front, when it was formed in December 1983. initially she became a mem-ber of parliament in 1994 chairing the Public Service Portfolio Committee. She was Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry (1996-1999), Min-ister of Minerals and Energy (1999-2005) and briefly served as acting Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in 2004. she was the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy in Educational Planning and Policy from the University of Cape Town (2003) and a BA in Education from the University of Lesotho (1980). In 2003, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor-ate from the University of Western Cape.
Lakshmi Puri is the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women she has more than 37 years’ ex-perience in economic and development policy-making as well as in political, peace and security, humanitarian and human rights–related diplo-macy. More than twenty years of these have been in relation to the United Nations system. She has promoted the gender equality and women’s empowerment agenda throughout her career.
Puri held the rank of Permanent Secretary of the Government of India, was Ambassador of India to Hungary and accredited to Bosnia and Herzego-vina. In that capacity she worked closely with the Peacekeeping Mission through coordination with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the Indian peacekeeping contingent.
Puri joined the United Nations as Director of UNC-TAD’s largest division and led the work of the organization in making trade work for develop-ment in all its dimensions and, in particular, for the achievement of the MDGs.
Source: UN Release 2013