On Sunday, Dilma Rousseff of the Worker’s Party defeated Jose Serra of the Social Democratic Party by a wide margin and became Brazil’s first woman president. Although she has never held elective office before, Rousseff, an economist, was strongly backed by Brazil’s highly popular current President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. She formerly served as da Silva’s Chief of Staff and a member of his cabinet as Energy Minister.
Following her historic win, Rousseff spoke passionately about her goals to eliminate poverty and promote gender equality, telling CNN, “I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say yes, women can.” She also outlined her plans to improve education and public healthcare, the New York Times reports.
During the 1970s, Rousseff was jailed and tortured for her membership in the left-wing guerrilla group called National Liberation Command, which opposed the military dictatorship ruling Brazil, according to the LA Times.