Michelle Bachelet was born in Santiago on September 29th, 1951.
In 1979 she received her Medical Degree in Surgery and, thanks to her grades and publications, received a scholarship from the Chilean Association of Medicine to specialize in Pediatrics and Public Health at Roberto del Río Hospital. During the 1980’s, Bachelet held several social services positions in institutions such as the Pidee NGO, which is dedicated to providing professional help to children of those detained and victimized by the military regime in Santiago and Chillán.
Beginning in 1990, Bachelet worked in the Westen Metropolitan Area Health Service; was incorporated into the National AIDS Commission (Conasida); was a consultant for the Pan-American Health Organization (OPS) and worked in the Ministry of Health on topics related to bettering primary care and management of services. In 1996, interested in participating in the remerging of the civil and military worlds, she specialized in topics related to National Defense, completing two courses on military strategy and continental defense. She later became an advisor to the Ministry of Defense.
In March of 2000, Michelle Bachelet became the Health Minister in Ricardo Lagos Escobar’s government.
In 2002, she became the Defense Minister, making her the first woman to hold this position in Chile and Latin America. Under her direction, important changes were made to the Compulsory Military Service, the role of the Ministry and the Military Staff was strengthened, rights for women in the Armed Forces, Police and Investigatory Police were improved, and more Chilean peacekeeping forces were deployed across the world.
In March of 2006, Bachelet became the first female President of the Republic, marking the beginning of a period where the government focused on achieving greater equality and social inclusion in Chile.
On September 14th, 2011, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon named Michelle Bachelet the first Director of the recently created UN Women agency, an organization dedicated to fighting for the rights of women and girls internationally. On March 23rd, 2013, after two and a half years of service dedicated to increasing women’s political participation, women’s economic empowerment and fighting to put an end to violence against women, she resigns from the organization to return to Chile.
On March 27th, 2013, Michelle Bachelet returned to Chile and publicly shared her decision to once again become a Presidential candidate, confirming her dedication to public service and to those Chileans who feel she possesses the necessary leadership skills that the country needs.