UN Women Executive Director highlights stronger collaboration in first press conference


In her first press conference as Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka stressed the organization’s urgent need for funding to sustain work on its key priority areas, and to ensure gender equality features prominently in the post-2015 Development Agenda.


Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka held her first UN press conference on 12 September 2013.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (left) held her first UN press conference on 12 September 2013. Photo: UN Women
Speaking about her vision for the organization and immediate priorities against the backdrop of important opportunities to further gender equality and women’s empowerment,  such as the Bejing+20 review and the UN’s post-2015 agenda, she highlighted the need to strengthen collaboration with Governments, the UN system, civil society and the private sector. She also stressed the need for targeted approaches to programmes, with interventions adapted to the realities of each country.

Press remarks below. An archived version of the webcast is available here:

Press Conference Remarks by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, 12 September 2013

[Check against delivery]

Good morning.

I am pleased to be here with UNCA and to meet all of you.

I am honoured to lead UN Women. I view our work for 3.6 billion women and girls as a service to humanity.  

I pay tribute to my predecessor Michelle Bachelet for her strong leadership. She has built a strong foundation.
At UN Women, we have six priorities:

    1. Expanding women’s leadership and participation
    2. Enhancing women’s economic empowerment
    3. Increasing women’s participation in peace and security
    4. Ending violence against women and girls
    5. Planning and budgeting for gender equality, and
    6. Promoting accountability for strong UN system-wide action for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

I will work with a collaborative approach, with Governments and UN Member States, with partners in the UN system, with partners in civil society and the private sector, with women at the grassroots, and with men and boys around the world.

This is a must for UN Women and for me as the Executive Director.

We have to work with communities to change harmful social norms and attitudes, and social institutions that discriminate and tolerate violence against women.

Women’s voices need to be heard in the household, on corporate boards, in peace talks, and in public institutions.

Women need equal access to education, opportunities, and to economic resources such as credit and land, and to justice.

Women need to have choices… and for this sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights are essential.

Every woman and girl should be able to live free of fear… and have the chance to reach her own potential.

As the Executive Director of UN Women, I will give an extra push to economic empowerment and poverty eradication. I will collaborate with other UN agencies for education, and focus on making the full use of technology and innovation.

We have three important opportunities coming up. These are:

  • The countdown to 2015 to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
  • The development of the post-2015 development agenda, and
  • The 20-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action.  

We have learned from the MDGs that we need to tackle inequalities to make greater progress across the board. We need to tackle gender inequality.

If we do not make women –half of humanity – central to the post-2015 agenda, we will not succeed. I will be a strong advocate for a stand-alone goal on gender equality and for gender mainstreamed across all other goals in the post-2015 development agenda.

For the 20-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action, we will focus our efforts on going beyond a mere review. We want enhanced advocacy, action and funding for the Beijing Platform for Action to be achieved.         

Under my leadership, I will focus on increasing funds for UN Women and for women and girls and gender equality globally. Since the creation of UN Women, words have not matched funding action. This will be a central priority for me.

I thank you and look forward to your questions.