OECD Forum on Gender Equality

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Michelle Bachelet

Chile

Former President of Chile & former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Biography

Michelle Bachelet is a prominent figure in Chilean and international politics, known for her resilience, leadership, and commitment to social justice. After an early career as a vocal student advocate for progressive reforms then as a surgeon, Bachelet transitioned into public service with Chile's return to democracy. She served as Minister of Health under President Ricardo Lagos Escobar, implementing vital healthcare reforms, and became Latin America's first female Minister of National Defense in 2002. In 2006, she made history once more as Chile’s first female president, holding office from 2006 to 2010 and then from 2014 to 2018. Throughout her presidency, she championed progressive policies promoting social inclusion, gender equality, and economic development. Appointed as the inaugural Director of UN Women in 2010, Bachelet led efforts to advance women's and girls' rights worldwide. In 2018, she founded Horizonte Ciudadano, dedicated to promoting progressive ideals through dialogue and citizen engagement on Chile's challenges. In August 2018, Bachelet was appointed United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, serving until August 2022.
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