Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka served as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women from August 2013 to August 2021. With a career dedicated to human rights, equality, and social justice, she brought invaluable experience to her role.

Mlambo-Ngcuka’s commitment to these causes began early, with her active involvement in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Prior to her UN appointment, she held prominent positions in South African government, including Deputy President from 2005 to 2008. During her tenure, she spearheaded initiatives to alleviate poverty and promote economic opportunities, particularly for women. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s government service also included roles as Minister of Minerals and Energy and Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry.

Before entering politics, Mlambo-Ngcuka started her career as a teacher and later gained international experience as a coordinator at the World YWCA in Geneva. She established global programs empowering young women, reflecting her lifelong commitment to gender equality and women’s rights. Additionally, she founded the Umlambo Foundation, focusing on leadership and education initiatives.

Mlambo-Ngcuka, a mother herself, holds a PhD in education and technology from the University of Warwick, UK, further underscoring her dedication to advancing knowledge and fostering positive change.

Job: Women Deliver, Board Chairperson
Location: South Africa
Umi100 Honouree 2024