International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

UN Women announces Danai Gurira as Goodwill Ambassador during Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg

Date: Monday, December 3, 2018

Photo: UN Women
Photo: UN Women


During the UN’s global annual advocacy campaign, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December), UN Women announced the appointment of internationally renowned award-winning actor-playwright Danai Gurira as its Goodwill Ambassador. As a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Gurira will lend her name and dedicate her support to putting a spotlight on gender equality and women’s rights, as well as bringing unheard women’s voices front and centre.

Introducing the newest Goodwill Ambassador on-stage at the Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100 in Johannesburg on 2 December, Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka highlighted the power of advocacy and the urgent need to get everyone involved in efforts to end violence against women and girls and to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment reaches the most marginalized globally.

“UN Women is delighted to welcome Danai Gurira in her new role as Goodwill Ambassador to support our work on gender equality. As a playwright, actor and activist in pursuit of women’s empowerment and gender equality with her sharp human rights lens, she is uniquely qualified to communicate and inspire. She recognizes the challenges of intersectionality and will connect with the diversity of women living on the margins of society,” said Mlambo-Ngcuka. “Her engagement with us will bring generations of girls greater belief in a positive future. As an influential role model in both her personal and professional life, and a voice for those who have not yet been heard, we look forward to her ability to drive action on gender equality in communities across the world,” she reiterated.

“I am honoured to join the UN Women family today,” said Gurira. “My passion for women and girls has been my focus in the narratives I create as well as the roles I have been able to play. I have always sought to push the boundaries and tell the stories of those who are often marginalized and unheard. My own advocacy for women and girls has made me deeply aware of UN Women, I have experienced the work of this organization on the ground as well as internationally, and I am delighted to partner with them to amplify many more stories from around the world and give a voice to those who are working relentlessly to make gender equality a reality.”

“We are at an urgent time, a time where our participation is crucial to ensure that all women and girls, no matter where they live, where they grow up or where they work, are in a world where their potential can be fully actualized; a world of true equality,” she added.

Mlambo-Ngcuka and Gurira also engaged with over 200 young women leaders at the African Leadership Academy, discussing their challenges and experiences within academia and the work force, and in ending violence against women, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence global campaign.

"I want young girls to remember the women who came before them, so they know the courage of women, the courage inside themselves," Gurira told the young women.

Mlambo-Ngcuka also emphasized that youth make up a huge part of the global population and that their voices and experiences need to be heard and shared. “If you don't speak to as many young people as possible in our society, we are totally missing the point.”

The 2018 UN theme, “Orange the World: #HearMeToo”, sought to broaden the global conversation and highlight the voices and activism of all survivors of violence and advocates around the world—many of whom are often missing from the media headlines and social media discussions.