Executive Director, UN Women

South Africa
Former Deputy President,
South Africa

The cultural and religious taboos surrounding reproductive rights limits the degree to which we empower young people through information. We can do more with greater access to technology for young people all over the world.

— Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka


Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is the United Nations under-secretary-general and executive director of UN Women. She served as the first female deputy president of South Africa from 2005 to 2008. A teacher by training, Phumzile has a long history of empowering women and ensuring their voices are heard. In 1983, she became the first president of the newly formed Natal Organization of Women, an affiliate of the leading anti-apartheid political movement in South Africa, the United Democratic Front. She also held leadership roles in the YWCA and TEAM, a development organization based in Cape Town.