The Right Honourable Helen Clark was the second woman to serve as Prime Minister of New Zealand, and the first to have won office at an election in the country. She was Prime Minister from 1999 to 2008.

During her time in office, other women also held many prominent elected and appointed offices in New Zealand. As a female Head of Government, Clark became and remains a member of the Council of Women World Leaders.

In April 2009, she resigned from Parliament to take up the post of Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, becoming the first woman to lead the organisation. For the duration of her term in office – April 2009 to April 2017 - she worked to reform the administration and bureaucracy of the UNDP, putting an emphasis on greater transparency.

In 2016, Forbes magazine ranked Clark the 22nd most powerful woman in the world. In that same year, she also stood for election for Secretary General of the United Nations.