Executive Director in India
Date: Monday, November 10, 2014
From 8-12 November, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is in India on her first visit to the sub-continent as the head of UN Women. Women’s public safety and legislation on women’s economic empowerment and political participation are high on the agenda.
UN Women today announced the appointment of actor-filmmaker-singer Farhan Akhtar as its South Asia Goodwill Ambassador. Farhan is the first man to be chosen as a Goodwill Ambassador in the organization’s history. In his new role, Farhan will dedicate his efforts towards the empowerment of women and girls, and will serve as an advocate for UN Women’s newly launched HeForShe initiative in advocating for gender equality.
On a stop in Mumbai, India on 12 November, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka met with Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons and Shyamal Gupta, Chairman of Tata International. The meeting was just one of many held with senior ministers, civil society and media leaders, donors, and the private sector. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka aims to underline the leading role India has to play in creating more just societies, as the world’s largest democracy.
During her first visit to the country, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka met today with the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, at the President's official residence, Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi, India. She is the first high-level UN official to visit India since the formation of a new government led by Narendra Modi in May.
In her speech at the Opening Plenary of the 2nd MenEngage Symposium, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said gender equality can only be achieved if men and boys take full responsibility, working side by side with women and girls, to redress the dynamics that hinder progress.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka officially inaugurated the 2nd MenEngage Symposium (read her inaugural speech), which included a HeForShe conversation on male accountability for gender equality. Panelists discussed strategies, measures and policies that they have adopted as male leaders to promote gender equality in their workplace or communities. UN Women is participating in several events at the Symposium.
In Gujarat, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka visited the “Making Women’s Voices and Votes Count – An ICT-based Intervention”, which is supported by UN Women's Fund for Gender Equality. Music, dance and more than 500 rural women greeted her as she entered the Town Hall of Shihore. An “information fair” bringing together local women and their elected leaders, was the backdrop of the event, where community members shared their experiences of using technology to catalyse change.
At a packed gathering in south Delhi, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka started her first day in India meeting with community members at a Safe Cities project which works with the administration and NGOs to make public spaces safer for women and girls. At an interactive discussion hosted by UN Women’s NGO partner Jagori, she heard first-hand from women and girls and boys on interventions that are working at the grass-roots level in India’s capital city to ensure women’s safety in public spaces.
From 8-12 November, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will travel to India on her first visit to the sub-continent as the head of UN Women. During the five-day visit, she will meet with senior ministers, civil society and media leaders, donors, and the private sector in New Delhi and Mumbai.
The visit coincides with the 2nd Global MenEngage Symposium in New Delhi, organized by MenEngage in collaboration with UN Women and other partners, in the context of Beijing+20. The Executive Director will be the opening speaker at the Plenary Session on 11 November. The Symposium, attended by over 1,000 participants from across the globe, will focus this year on the theme of “Men and Boys for Gender Justice”
Photos from the visit will be available online at: flickr.com/unwomen