SA Women of the Month: Michele Bachelet

Michele Bachelet, Chile’s first female president, occupied this position from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2018. She is an important leader of the world who had and continues to have a great impact on a diversity of worrying aspects of our existence, where she implements courageous conservation initiatives.

Michele Bachelet, the “Voice for the Voiceless”

Not only is Michele Bachelet Chile’s spectacular leader and an extremely well-known human rights champion, but she is known for being a torture survivor of the Augusto Pinochet’s military coup. So, there is no wonder the superwoman of South America often refers to herself as “voice for the voiceless.”

She wasn’t the only member of her family imprisoned. Both her parents were political prisoners. Her father, who was a general in the air force, died in prison.

After being released, together with her mother, she fled to Australia where they spent several years in exile. But only after moving to East Germany she began becoming the hero without a cape she is today. While studying at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Bachelet began being active in socialist politics.

Bachelet began her activist involvement in Chilean human rights in the early 1970s. And in 1979 she returned to Chile to become not only a fierce fighter for human rights but also to finish her studies and become a pediatrician and public health advocate.

In addition to having a medical degree, Michele Bachelet studied military strategy at Chile’s National Academy of Strategy and Policy and at the Inter-American Defense College in the United States.

She began her political career as an adviser in the Ministry of Health. And only after a short period of time she became the first woman to lead Chile’s Health Ministry in 2000 and its Defence Ministry in 2002.

As stated above Michele Bachelet, Chile’s first female president, occupied this position twice: from 2006 to 2010 and from 2014 to 2018.

But her impressive impact on the world did not end there. In August 2018, the former politician and famous human rights advocate became the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Not only did she take on a four-year term at the 193-member organization, but she did this in a moment when an enormous humanitarian crisis started developing all over the world.

The South American woman’s point of view against the Rohingya refugee crisis, the Trump administration’s separation of migrant families, and the regime of Nicolas Maduro are just some of the vibrating opinions that define her position.

Michele Bachelet, the Environmentalist

Besides her medical degree, military strategy studies, humanitarian causes and political career, Bachelet also makes South America proud for her incredible legacy in environmental conservation.

Inspired by the work of the National Geographic Pristine Seas project, Bachelet led her government to create three large marine parks in 2017. One park was created around the Juan Fernández Archipelago, one around the Desventuradas Islands and the third in the area of Cape Horn.

Thanks to her work and dedication, Chile is the only country that protected or is protecting such diverse marine environments, from subtropical islands to subantarctic waters.

These are the reasons why Michele is South America’s woman of the month. Not only South America, but the whole world should recognize and praise the extraordinary evolution and impact Michele Bachelet, Chile’s extraordinary activist, politician, and environmentalist had and still has on our lives.

Clara Barciela – Co Founder and Operations director

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