Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo: Prime Minister, Portugal, 1979-1980, d.2004
In Memory: Maria de Lourdes Ruivo da Silva de Matos Pintasilgo was the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of Portugal. She joined Acção Católica (Catholic Action) 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. 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 António Ramalho 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 a cardiac arrest at her home on July, 10th 2004.