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. Under Ms. Bachelet’s leadership, UN Women led, supported and coordinated the work on gender equality and the empowerment of women at global, regional and country levels.
Ms. Bachelet served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010. A long-time champion of women’s rights, she has advocated for gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout her career. One of her major successes 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.
Ms. Bachelet 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.