Secretary-General Appoints Michelle Bachelet of Chile Under-Secretary-General of United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women)

14 September 2010
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Biographical Note

Secretary-General Appoints Michelle Bachelet of Chile Under-Secretary-General


of United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today his appointment of Michelle Bachelet of Chile as the Under-Secretary-General for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).  The following is the transcript:

“Today, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Ms. Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, as the head of UN Women, the newly created UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, established on 2 July by the General Assembly.

As you know, the creation of UN Women is the culmination of almost four years effort and today’s announcement has been made possible thanks to the hard work of the Member States and the many partners who share our commitment to this agenda.

This has been a top and very personal priority of mine and I, therefore, take special satisfaction in this appointment.  Nearly four years ago, I took office determined to see the merging of the four separate gender entities into one powerful, dynamic and effective entity.  UN Women will promote the interests of women and girls across the globe.

Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership, highly honed political skills and uncommon ability to create consensus and focus among UN agencies and many partners in both the public and private sector.

I am confident that under her strong leadership, we can improve the lives of millions of women and girls throughout the world.

Next week, we will host a special summit on the Millennium Development Goals.  Women and children will be at the very core of our final push to realise the Goals by the deadline of 2015.”

Ms. Bachelet most recently 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 was her decision to save billions of dollars in revenues to spend on pension reform, which guaranteed a programme of social protections for women and children, despite the financial crisis.  This 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.

Ms. Bachelet holds a medical degree.  She also studied military strategy at Chile’s National Academy of Strategy and Policy and at the Inter-American Defense College in the United States.

Born 29 September 1951 in Santiago, Ms. Bachelet has three children.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.