On January 1, Dilma Rousseff was sworn into office and became Brazil’s first woman president. She took the oath of office alongside Vice President Michel Temer. In her inaugural address, Rousseff paid tribute to Brazil’s highly popular former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and described her plans to improve education and public healthcare and reduce homelessness in Brazil.
Following her historic win, Rousseff spoke passionately about her goals to eliminate poverty and promote gender equality, “I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say yes, women can.”
Rousseff of the Worker’s Party defeated Jose Serra of the Social Democratic Party by a wide margin. Although she has never held elective office before, Rousseff, an economist, was strongly backed by da Silva. She formerly served as da Silva’s Chief of Staff and a member of his cabinet as Energy Minister.
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.