Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo: Prime Minister, Portugal, 1979-1980, d.2004
Maria de Lourdes Ruivo da Silva de Matos Pintasilgo was the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of Portugal. She was born in Abrantes, in The Tagus Valley. She joined Aacao Catlica, Catholic Action, and during some years she joined and eventually led the Catholic’s women student movement. After graduating from Lisbon’s Higher Technical Institute, with an engineering degree in industrial chemistry she went into a graduate scholarship program with the National Nuclear Energy Board. After complaining the program, she began working for a large Portuguese conglomerate. Some years later, she held a job in government, in which she was in charge of Portugal’s Program for development and social change. She was appointed Secretary of State for Social welfare. After, she became Minister of Social Affairs and one year later, Portugal’s first Ambassador to the UNESCO. In 1979, she was called on by General Antnio Ramljo Eanes, the President of Portugal, to become Prime Minister. She left her mark by making social security universal and improving health care, education and labor legislation in Portugal. Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo died of cardiac arrest at her home on July, 10th 2004.