The Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has been named the recipient of the 2019 Cannes LionHeart in recognition for her advocacy for women, human rights and social justice throughout the world.

The LionHeart is an honorary award presented to a person or an organisation that has harnessed their position to make a significant, positive difference in the world around them, particularly in the area of branding and advertising.

In their citation, Cannes says Mlambo-Ngcuka championed women’s rights through projects devoted to education, women’s empowerment and gender equality while she has been recognised as one of the most influential people in shaping gender policy around the world.

South Africa’s former Deputy President is praised for bringing together leaders from business, technology and the creative industries to improve the lives of women and children.

She is also using her role at UN Women to drive the role of women in leadership through engaging male allies and working to end discrimination through coalitions and movement building among global leaders.

In a statement, Mlambo-Ngcuka said it was an honour just to be nominated while expressing her joy at working with the advertising community to bring about positive change. She will receive the award in France at the end of June.