UN Women Executive Director to highlight women’s economic empowerment and ending violence against women and girls during her first official visit to the Asia-Pacific region


Starting on 25 March, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will begin her first official visit to the Asia-Pacific region as United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. The agenda of the trip to Japan and Viet Nam will include meetings with high-ranking government officials, as well as representatives from the private sector, civil society and media.

In her discussions, UN Women Executive Director will address key priority issues, including the need to expand women’s economic opportunities, strengthen the fight to end violence against women and girls, and ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment in the future development roadmap (post-2015 development agenda).

From 25 to 28 March, at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will visit Japan, a strong and sustained partner for UN Women’s work on gender equality and women’s rights. The Executive Director will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, who recently participated in UN Women’s HeForShe awareness campaign, joining other men leaders to stand up for women’s rights and equality. The Executive Director will also meet with government leaders, and a wide range of constituencies, including National Diet members, UN Women National Committee, parliamentarians, the private sector and the press on 28 March.

During a three-day visit to Viet Nam from 29-31 March, the Executive Director will have high-level meetings with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh, and Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, to address gender equality and women’s empowerment issues. She will congratulate Viet Nam on its remarkable progress towards the MDGs and urge further action on the gaps that remain. She will also meet with members of the National Assembly and civil society organizations.

Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will meet with secondary students in Chu Van An school, a 105-year-old school in the capital city, highlighting the need to provide safe learning environments in schools and stressing the role of youth in preventing violence against women and girls. Her itinerary also includes a discussion with women migrant workers at the biggest night-market in the capital Ha Noi, the Long Bien market, where she will call for action to provide migrants with better access to basic services and social protection.

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will also deliver a keynote address at the policy dialogue on “Increasing Inclusion of Women and Girls in the Social Protection System: A Development Priority”, attended by government representatives, civil society, international organizations and gender experts.