People Ms Michelle Bachelet
Member, Oxford Martin Commission
President of Chile; Former Executive Director, UN Women
Ms. Bachelet served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010, and was re-elected to the position in December 2013.
A long-time champion of women’s rights, she has advocated for gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout her career. Ms. Michelle Bachelet was the first Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, which was established on 2 July 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly. UN Women works with the entire UN system, governments, civil society and the private sector to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality worldwide.
One of her major successes during her first period as President was her decision to save billions of dollars in revenues to spend on issues such as pension reform, social protection programmes for women and children, and research and development, despite the financial crisis. Other initiatives included tripling the number of free early child-care centres for low-income families and the completion of some 3,500 child-care centres around the country.
She also held ministerial portfolios in the Chilean Government as Minister of Defence and Minister of Health. As Defence Minister, Ms. Bachelet introduced gender policies intended to improve the conditions of women in the military and police forces. As Minister of Health, she implemented health care reform, improving attention to primary care facilities with the aim of ensuring better and faster health care response for families.