Undersecretary General, United Nations; Executive Director, UN Women
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is undersecretary general of the United Nations and executive director of UN Women. She was sworn into office in August 2013. Mlambo-Ngcuka served as deputy president of South Africa from 2005 to 2008, prior to which she was the country’s minister of minerals and energy and deputy minister of trade and industry. She was a member of parliament from 1994 to 1996, part of South Africa’s first democratic government. Focusing on human rights, equality, and social justice, Mlambo-Ngcuka began as a teacher, gaining international experience at the World YWCA. She also founded the nonprofit Umlambo Foundation, which supports leadership and education, and is affiliated with other organizations devoted to education, women’s empowerment, and gender equality.