“If you are a woman you are a worker—period.”

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“Almost all women do some form of work. If you are a woman you are a worker—period. … [Yet] The global pay gap, at an average of 23 per cent, means that women are clearly earning consistently less than men. Women regard this as daylight robbery. The deficit has robbed generations of women of income, future security and just reward. Each year they work three months more than men for equivalent pay.”

-Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, in her opening statement for the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women on March 13, 2017. The theme for this year’s commission is “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work.” #CSW61 is taking place until March 24.

Before being sworn into office on August 19, 2013, Phumzile served as Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008. She was the first woman to hold this position. In 2008, Phumzile founded the Umlambo Foundation to support schools in impoverished areas through mentorship and coaching for teachers. She is a longtime champion of women’s rights, equality, and social justice, working across the private and public sectors and government.

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