Gender Trailblazer President Michelle Bachelet of Chile named Honorary International Gender Champion.

In a ceremony held in Geneva today, Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, designated Michelle Bachelet, President of the Republic of Chile, as an Honorary Gender Champion for her tireless efforts in promoting full equality, inclusion and participation of women.

Welcoming President Bachelet, Mr. Møller recognized her as a visionary leader who has helped propel the gender cause to the top of the global agenda through her achievements and leadership. 

“In her work, President Bachelet has demonstrated time and again a profound commitment to the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls,the empowerment of women, the promotion of women’s health and the creation of ambitious child-care policies.  In so doing, she serves as an example for us all,” Mr. Møller said.

Michelle Bachelet, who was the first Executive Director of UN-Women (2010-2013), has broken glass ceilings throughout her life and career, demonstrating the positive change that happens when the full potential of women, their talent and their wisdom is tapped. She was the first woman to serve as Minister of Defence in the Americas in 2002, and the first woman President of Chile from 2006 to 2010. Today, only 17 States out of 193 have a female as Head of State or Government. 

During her presidency, Chile established the Women and Gender Equality Ministry in 2016 to end gender inequality and promote access to spaces of political representation, adopted legal quotas for women representation in Congress and political parties, established a gender-sensitive ranking system in the Chilean Army to allow both men and women to rise to the rank of Brigadier General, and introduced a gender approach to labour legislation. 

As an “Honorary Gender Champion”, President Bachelet will commit to advance gender equality in her current capacity as Head of State. In doing so, she is joining United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, UN-Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo, Chilean Ambassador to Geneva Marta Maurás and another 160 Gender Champions in Geneva and New York, leaders from the diplomatic and international communities as well as the private sector who have taken the Panel Parity Pledge and committed to work towards gender parity in their organizations. 

In Geneva, President Bachelet will also address a special meeting of the Human Rights Council on 29 March at the Palais des Nations.