Figueroa, Ana (1907–1970)

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Figueroa, Ana (1907–1970)

Chilean educator and UN representative who was the first woman to be elected chair of a major committee of the UN General Assembly and the first woman to be named an alternate delegate to the Security Council. Born in Santiago, Chile, on June 19, 1907; died in 1970; daughter of Miguel Figueroa Rebolledo and Ana Gajardo Infante; graduated from the University of Chile, 1928; attended Teachers College of Columbia University and Colorado State College; children: one son, Arturo.

An educator by profession, Ana Figueroa began her career as an English and philosophy teacher in various Chilean high schools. In 1938, she was named principal of the Liceo San Felipe and assumed the same position at the Liceo de Temuco the following year. In 1946, she was promoted to general inspector of secondary education, a position of national scope. In addition to her duties as a teacher and administrator, Figueroa taught psychology at the University of Chile and wrote a text on sex education (1934). An advocate of women's rights, she was a member of the board of the YWCA, president of the Federation of Women's Organization in Chile, and her country's delegate to the Inter-American Commission of Women.

Figueroa was appointed to the United Nations in 1948, as a delegate plenipotentiary to the third regular session of the General Assembly. In February 1950, she was appointed alternate permanent Chilean representative to the UN and later that year was elected to the Assembly's Trusteeship Committee. When the UN opened its Sixth General Assembly in Paris in November 1951, Figueroa was elected chair of the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee, which dealt with problems of human rights, refugees, and migration. The first woman chosen to head a General Assembly committee, she downplayed any emphasis on the "feminine angle," believing that it was quite natural for a woman to be awarded a high post and that she should not receive special privileges. On January 22, 1952, her country named her an alternate delegate to the Security Council, a position never before filled by a woman. When General Carlos Ibáñez succeeded as president of Chile in November 1952, Figueroa, in keeping with Chilean custom, resigned as a representative to the UN.


Current Biography. NY: H.W. Wilson, 1952.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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Figueroa, Ana (1907–1970)

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