Zonta International Honorary Member Margaret C Snyder dies at 91
Margaret C. "Peg" Snyder, founding director of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM—now folded into UN Women), died on 26 January, just four days before her 92nd birthday. Snyder became a Zonta International honorary member in 1988.
Snyder is often referred to as the "UN's First Feminist." She was appointed the first director of the Voluntary Fund for the UN Decade for Women and subsequently, in 1978, became the founding director of UNIFEM, which she led for more than a decade.
In this role, Snyder "reoriented UN thinking to recognize the importance of bringing resources directly to women and women's organizations," said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women's executive director.
Snyder also led pioneering achievements such as revolving microcredit for women and supporting village savings and loans.
In addition to her distinguished career at the United Nations, Snyder was an author, international expert on girls and women in the economic development of Africa, and academic. She served as assistant director of East African studies at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, a Fulbright scholar in Uganda and a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
"She was a relentless advocate, traveling into her late 80s, with undiminished passion to bring change. Colleagues remember her wit, her humor and her absolute drive to see women's political participation and economic empowerment," stated Mlambo-Ngcuka.
"She has been a continuing inspiration to many young feminists and feminist allies who came into the UN to work on gender equality, and engaged with many of them until recently," Mlambo-Ngcuka continued. "Her passing comes at a point where the importance of bringing women's voices and skills to the forefront has never been more important for the world's ability to move ahead resiliently and creatively."
Zonta International is grateful to Snyder for her numerous contributions to women around the world and honored to continue her legacy.
3 FEBRUARY 2021