Brazil made history yesterday, when the country elected former chief of staff Dilma Rousseff as its President, making her the highest ranking woman and first female head of state there. She was handpicked as the candidate for the Workers’ Party by popular president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and beat out opponent Jose Serra in Sunday’s runoff election.
In her victory speech, she cited goals of eradicating poverty and improving gender equality. Rousseff has already made tremendous progress. In her posts as Minister of Energy and Chief of Staff, she helped 31 million Brazilians move into the middle class and saw 24 million escape poverty. Moreover, her presence at the top serves as an example for girls around the world. She joins Cristina Fernandez, the first elected female president in Argentina, and Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla as another strong female leader in Latin America. She was named this year to our list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.