UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

UN Women Executive Director to visit Malawi on first official country mission

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Focus will be on advancing empowerment of women and girls

For immediate release
Date: 05 October 2013

Lilongwe —

The newly appointed Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, will visit Malawi from 6 to 9 October, on her first official country mission. She will reinforce UN Women’s support to Malawi in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment through collaboration with the Government, civil society, private sector and UN system.

During her three-day visit, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will meet with various government and civil society representatives, UN agencies, business leaders and development partners to listen and discuss strategies to make greater progress.

“In all countries, advancing women’s and girls’ empowerment, education, and equality is vital for fighting poverty and for improving the health and well-being of all members of society. I am coming to Malawi to support the good work that is underway and to reinforce strong partnerships and action across sectors and with grassroots women for gender equality. I look forward to meeting the people we work with, side by side every day, to strengthen collaboration for women’s and girls’ empowerment and economic and social progress,” said Ms.Mlambo-Ngcuka.

In Malawi, Ms. Mlambo Ngcuka will highlight strategic responses around key challenges affecting women’s human rights such as economic empowerment of rural women, elimination of violence against women and girls, and the urgent need to focus on girls’ education and raising the age of marriage. Today Malawi has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with half of girls being married before the age of 18, threatening their education, health and future prospects. The focus overall will be on expanding joint programming within the UN system and with other key development partners including women's organizations in advancing equal opportunities for women and men, boys and girls in Malawi.

During the trip, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will visit the Victim Support Units and see first-hand the work being done in the country to eliminate violence against women and girls. She will also meet with rural women farmers to focus on enhancing productivity and agricultural services for the many women farmers across the country. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will consult with representatives of human rights organizations and members of the newly established UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group to discuss key trends and opportunities for partnerships and joint advocacy.

UN Women, established in 2010, leads the UN’s efforts towards women’s empowerment and gender equality. It also provides leadership in support of national priorities and efforts, building partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors. The UN Women Malawi office was established exactly one year ago.

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Media Contacts:

Imelda Kandiero, ikandiero@yahoo.com; Ph: 0888688647

Zilanie Nyundo, zilanie.nyundo@gmail.com; Ph: +265 99 406 8833

Diana Liabuba, dliabuba@gmail.com; Ph; 0993755966

Notes to Editors:

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was the first woman to hold the post of Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008. On  10 July 2013, Mlambo-Ngcuka was appointed as the Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women) by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

See more: http://www.unwomen.org/en/about-us/about-un-women