Who is she?
Michelle has actually served two stints as President – she was first elected in 2006, serving until 2010, and was re-elected in 2014.
As Health Minister under President Ricardo Lago, she controversially authorised the free distribution of the morning-after pill for victims of sexual abuse.
As President, she has reformed Chile’s pension system, developed new social welfare programs for children, and was known as a strong champion for women and girls. Michelle also announced her cabinet as composed equally of men and women – unprecedented in that country (and in a lot of countries around the world!).
While head of UN Women, Michelle undertook new initiatives to protect women and girls from violence and fostered new advances on health and women’s empowerment worldwide.
Why should we thank her?
Michelle is a formidable leader and a powerful advocate for women and girls’ rights. As the first leader of UN Women, she set a high benchmark for an important worldwide organisation. And it’s not every day someone is elected President of their country TWICE.
“One of the factors a country’s economy depends on is human capital. If you don’t provide women with adequate access to healthcare, education and employment, you lose at least half of your potential. So, gender equality and women’s empowerment bring huge economic benefits.”