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Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity
Anita Peña Saavedra AFSEE

Anita Peña Saavedra

Head of International Affairs at the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality, Government of Chile

Anita is a feminist activist and the Head of the International Affairs Department at the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality at the Government of Chile, where she focuses on the intersectional factors that intervene in gender inequality. Throughout her career, she has combined her professional and academic work with activism, connecting her feminist economics perspective with social justice and the struggle for change.

She was previously an Associate Researcher in the Laboratorio de Transformaciones Sociales at the University of Diego Portales (UDP), Chile, Researcher at Fondo Aquimia, a feminist philanthropic organisation, and she has taught social protection systems and labour for students of social work at Santo Tomás University. She served as a consultant for the Fundación Instituto de la Mujer, where she was responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of a three-year project aimed at ending violence against young women and LGBT people. Anita is the former executive director of MILES, an NGO that plays a key role in policymaking around abortion rights in Chile, and is also active throughout Latin America and the Caribbean in building and promoting sexual and reproductive rights.

In 2015, she joined the office of the Vice Minister of Women in the Chilean government, during Michelle Bachelet’s administration, as an adviser to the Vice Minister on sexual and reproductive rights issues and gender policies. She was also actively involved in the struggle to decriminalise abortion in Chile in cases where a woman’s life is at risk, in cases of foetal unviability, and in cases of rape.

Anita has been part of the feminist movement in Chile since 2004, when she began organising campaigns with other young women at Valparaíso University. In 2008 she worked in Ciudad Juárez in Mexico with Red Mesa de Mujeres, a group of feminist activists campaigning to end violence against women and girls, and in 2020 she took part in the feminist resistance in Honduras. Between 2011 and 2015 Anita returned to Chile to join the campaign for abortion rights, and received an award from her hometown, Algarrobo, for her work in the feminist movement.

Anita holds a BA in Public Administration from the University of Valparaiso, an MA in Gender Studies from the University of Chile, and master’s in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

In the future, I see myself as an agent of a change within my country and in the wider Latin American region. I see myself as important actor in the sphere of gender policies and in tackling gender-based and other forms of inequality. I would like to have the responsibility to lead a national programme of gender equality policies. Always, with one foot in the community sector, I see myself continuing to engage with the grassroots in order to make and share learning, and to mobilise collectively.

Anita Peña Saavedra


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