WOMEN POWER TAKES OVER AFRICA
By: Khethukuthula Lembethe
South African leading women have struck once again, following Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s appointment as the chairperson of the African Union Commission.
This time, former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has been made head of the gender equality body United Nations Women.
According to a UN media release, Mlambo-Ngcuka was made head of UN Women on Wednesday, after former Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, stepped down to pursue another presidential bid.
The 57-year-old Durban-born Mlambo-Ngcuka was deputy president of South Africa under former president Thabo Mbeki from 2005 to 2008.
According to the UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky, “Mlambo-Ngcuka brings to this position a wealth of experience in advocacy for women’s issues, with a combination of strategic leadership, consensus building and hands-on management experience.”
Mlambo-Ngcuka has a rich history in women empowerment and mentoring projects.
Before pursuing her political career, Mlambo-Ngcuka was the first president of the Natal Organisation of Women, an associate of the United Democratic Front. In 2008, she established the Umlambo Foundation to support schools in poor areas of South Africa through mentoring and coaching for teachers.
Mlambo-Ngcuka obtained qualifications in gender policy and planning at the Development Planning Unit at the University College in London in 1988. She followed this by obtaining a Masters in Philosophy degree in Educational Planning and Policy from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2003. In the same year, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Witwatersrand Technikon.
According to her qualifications, Mlambo-Ngcuka will fit like a glove into her new position.
“I think she has much to contribute, judging from South Africa’s struggles in gender equality. The UN will have a better understanding of gender equality from a primary source she has seen it and overcome it through advocacy,” said Siyabonga Nzimande, a gender advocate for Brothers for Life and other campaigns.