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Märta Elisabeth Rehn (born April 6, 1935 in Helsinki, Finland) is a former MP of the Swedish People's Party and the first female Minister of Defence in Finland. In the 1994 presidential elections she was narrowly defeated by Martti Ahtisaari.

Elisabeth Rehn spent her childhood in Mäntsälä, where her father worked as a community medical doctor. Rehn went to a local school in Mäntsälä before entering a boarding school in Kauniainen.

Rehn received the degree of Master of Science in Economics in 1957 and has honorary degrees in political science from both Hanken School of Economics and Åbo Akademi University. In the beginning of the 1960s Rehn was known to be the first person in Finland to import and market the plastic Tupperware containers.

Rehn had a high profile as the first female Minister of Defence in Finland. In 1995, during Rehn's term as Minister of Defence, a law on voluntary female enlistment was enacted. In recent years Rehn has been known for her international assignments, as UN Under-Secretary General and as the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Rehn is a Member of the Global Leadership Foundation, and organization which works to promote good governance around the world[1].

Rehn was married to Ove Rehn from 1955 until his death, and they have four children: Veronica, Joakim, Charlotta and Johan. Ove Rehn died November 8, 2004.

Rehn is a two-time cancer survivor. She recovered from colon cancer in the 1990s and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000.[2]



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