Pumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, of South Africa, took the oath of office today as the new head of the United Nations body tasked with promoting women’s rights and their full participation in global affairs.
In a ceremony presided over by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka was sworn in as the second Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women). Her predecessor, Michelle Bachelet, a former president of Chile, stepped down earlier this year.
The appointment of Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Deputy President of South Africa, was announced by the Mr. Ban on 10 July 2013.
Mr. Ban said that Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka brings to her new position a wealth of experience in advocating for women’s issues “with a combination of strategic leadership, consensus building and hands-on management experience.”
Among her prior appointments, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka was the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008.
UN Women was established in July 2010 by a unanimous vote of the General Assembly to oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights. It is tasked with helping Member States implement standards, providing technical and financial support to countries which request it, and forging partnerships with civil society.