Dilma Rousseff became the first female elected president of Brazil and she served in office from 2011 to 2016.
Dilma Rousseff was born in 1947. At the age of 20, she joined a guerrilla group in order to fight against the Brazilian military dictatorship. Captured and tortured, Rousseff spent three years in prison for subversive behavior. Upon her release in 1973, Rousseff resumed her education; she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre in 1977.
In the 1980s, she helped found the PDT (Democratic Labor Party). Rousseff became active in local politics, and she was appointed finance secretary for Porto Alegre in 1986. She left that position in 1988 and later spent two years as president of the Foundation of Economics and Statistics of Rio Grande do Sul state (1991–93). She returned to government work in 1993 as secretary of mines, energy, and communications for Rio Grande do Sul. Rousseff left that post in 1994 and later pursued a Ph.D. in economics.
In 2000, Rousseff joined the PT. Two years later, in 2002, President Lula appointed her Minister of Energy. In 2005, she became the Chief of Staff to the President. She stepped down from Petrobras in March 2010 to prepare for her presidential campaign.