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Prime Minister, New Zealand (1999-2008); Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (2009-2017) | New Zealand


Helen Clark served as Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008, and from April 2009 to April 2017 she was the first woman to lead the United Nations Development Programme. As administrator of UNDP, she was the third highest-ranking official of the United Nations.

Clark was the second woman to serve as Prime Minister of New Zealand, and the first to have won office at an election. During her period in office, other women also held many prominent  elected and appointed offices in New Zealand. As a female head of government, Clark was a member of the Council of Women World Leaders.

In 2009, she resigned from parliament to take up the post of Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. She worked to reform the administration and bureaucracy of the UNDP, putting an emphasis on greater transparency in the organisation.

While holding the office as administrator for UNDP, Forbes magazine ranked her the 22nd most powerful woman in the world in 2016. In that same year, she also stood for election for Secretary General for the United Nations.

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