Martha Beatriz Merino Lucero was elected Peru’s first female Prime Minister in 2003.
Born in Peru in 1947, she studied law at the National University of San Marcos (Peru), and later at Harvard University, where she graduated with an LLM, the first Peruvian woman to graduate from Harvard Law School. Then in 1972 she obtained an LLM from LSE, before pursuing a career at Procter & Gamble.
From 1990 to 1992, she was elected as a Senator of Peru. From 1995 to 2000, she served as Congresswoman. During her time in Congress, she was president of the Environment Committee and the Women’s Rights Committee. For six years she acted as national ombudsman for Peru (2005 – 2011). Between 23 June 2003 and 12 December 2003, Merino was the first female Prime Minister of Peru.
In 2015, Merino was chosen to receive the Harvard University Lifetime Achievement Award, becoming the first woman in Peru to obtain the highest recognition from Harvard Alumni and Faculty. In 2016, she was elected as one of the most influential leaders in Latin America by America Economía.
She was widely recognised for her expertise and work regarding women’s issues. She was the Director of the Women’s Leadership Programme, now known as the Gender Equality in Development Unit, at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC. The Bank aims to support and finance projects which enhance women’s leadership in Latin America.