Welcoming Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as Women Political Leaders Global Ambassador for Generation Equality

Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Brussels, January 2022 – Women Political Leaders (WPL) is honoured to welcome Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as WPL Global Ambassador for Generation Equality. Mlambo-Ngcuka, who was appointed as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women from 2013 until 2021, will also serve as a member of the WPL Global Advisory Board.

Having led the United Nations entity that is dedicated to equality and women’s rights for so many years, Mlambo-Ngcuka brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will undoubtedly help achieve WPL’s commitments to Generation Equality. Generation Equality is a 5-year initiative launched by UN Women to promote and accelerate the rights of women and girls globally. As part of a larger effort to catalyse leaders to take action towards the objectives of Generation Equality, Action Coalitions were formed comprising a broad spectrum of stakeholders including governments, civil society, and the private sector. WPL holds a lead role in the Action Coalition that focuses on women’s leadership and has made ambitious commitments to work with its network of women politicians for the next 5 years to drive legislative and societal change. “Last year, the Generation Equality Forum generated $40 billion in financial commitments, as well as powerful policy and program commitments to advance equality. WPL is honoured to have the opportunity to work closely with Phumzile, who is the brains behind this groundbreaking initiative that mobilised resources and influenced thousands of leaders to commit to advancing equality”, says Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Founder and President of WPL. 

Mlambo-Ngcuka began her career as a leader in South Africa and an activist in the struggle against apartheid. She became a member of the first South African democratically elected Parliament in 1994. She also served as Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry (1994 – 1996) and as Minister of Minerals and Energy (1999 – 2005). In 2005, she became the first woman appointed to the position of Deputy President of South Africa until 2008. Throughout her career, Mlambo-Ngcuka has put her focus on issues of human rights, equality, and social justice. She has pioneered work that contributed to transforming social inequalities and discriminatory norms, with initiatives such as the HeforShe movement and Unstereotype Alliance. Today she continues to actively engage and be affiliated with organisations committed to women’s rights. “In a world where women’s rights are undermined and women are underrepresented, it is important for women leaders and women in all their diversity to make their voices and demands heard. I am glad to be part of WPL where we call and stand for the rights of women”, says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

For additional information and requests for interviews, please contact the WPL Press Office at [email protected], or call +91 96199 15256 / +32 2 733 13 44.


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About WPL

Women Political Leaders (WPL) is the global network of women politicians. The mission of WPL is to increase both the number and the influence of women in political leadership positions. WPL communities are women in political office – Presidents, Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliaments, Mayors.

About Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women from August 2013 to August 2021. From 2005 to 2008, she served as Deputy President of South Africa. Prior to this, she 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 YWCA in Geneva. A longtime champion of women’s rights, she is affiliated with several organizations devoted to education, women’s empowerment and gender equality. She completed her PhD in education and technology at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom.