YWCA Women change the face of global leadership
August 2, 2013
The World YWCA and its global movement was delighted with the recent announcement from the office of the United Nations Secretary-General that Ms. PhumzileMlambo-Ngcuka, former Deputy President of South Africa, was appointed as the new Executive Director of UN Women. She will be taking over from Michelle Bachelet from Chile, who resigned in March this year from the position.
The office of the UN Secretary-General was quoted as saying on the choice,
"Mlambo-Ngcuka brings to this position a wealth of experience in advocating for women's issues with a combination of strategic leadership, consensus building and hands-on management experience."
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka's connections with the YWCA go as far back as her teenage years. After gaining much exposure and experience on gender-based issues and community development in South Africa, she later moved to Geneva to work for the World YWCA from 1984 to 1989, as Youth Director. After returning to South Africa, she held a number of key positions which contributed to the development of her country but remained committed to the YWCA's vision through her non-profit work with young women.
In 1994, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka was elected to parliament in South Africa's first multiracial elections at a time when Nelson Mandela led the African National Congress (ANC) party to victory.
She was a member of the ANC's national executive committee and also served as Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry from 1996 to 1999. From 1999 to 2005 she was Minister of Minerals and Energy, and from 2005 to 2008, under President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, she was the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka also established the Umlambo Foundation to provide support to schools in impoverished areas in South Africa and Malawi.
During the 150th Anniversary celebrations of the World YWCA held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2005, the World YWCA was honoured to have Phumzile, who at the time held the office of Deputy President of South Africa, as their guest speaker. In her speech she spoke extensively of her time in the World Office:
"I speak as someone who has benefitted from the YWCA's leadership development endeavors. From the YWCA I have learnt the importance of empowering women, about the difference that women could make when they have been empowered and I have been a witness to it"
Having already appreciated working closely with Michelle Bachelet for a number of years, the World YWCA looks forward to continuing its collaboration with UN Women with Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and to growing and strengthening this privileged relationship and the joint actions to be carried out in the future.
World YWCA General Secretary, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda shared;
"I extend my congratulations to my sister, PhumuzileMlamboNqcuka of South Africa on her appointment. With my deep commitment to women's rights and empowerment, we will work strongly together for this cause and for the future that mothers and daughters of this world and their families yearn for."
To have a representative of the YWCA's global movement of women in such an impactful position for women everywhere has only affirmed the values set by the movement, to dream big and lead strong!
-World YWCA. See the full article at