09.13.136:02 PM ET

U.N. Women Chief Fights ‘Backlash’

“Women’s voices need to be heard.”

South Africa’s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the new head of United Nations Women, recently shared her take on women’s rights—and her plans to further them. Mlambo-Ngcuka cited economic and social barriers—including increased violence against women, trafficking, and cyberbullying—as part of a “definite backlash” against women’s equality.  She also called for support from men, boys, and both the private and public sector.  "Women's voices need to be heard in the household, on corporate boards, in peace talks, and in public institutions," she said.  Mlambo-Ngcuka, formerly South Africa’s first female deputy president, is the U.N. women’s rights agency’s second director in its three-year history. Among her top priorities are granting small loans to impoverished women and growing the agency’s donor base.