Nov 4, 2021 - World

Pope Francis appoints first woman to serve as secretary-general of Vatican City

Pope Francis.

Photo: Pierpaolo Scavuzzo/Vatican Pool/Corbis/Getty Images

Pope Francis has appointed Sister Raffaella Petrini to become the first woman to serve in the No. 2 position in the governorship of Vatican City.

Why it matters: The appointment makes Petrini, a 52-year-old Italian nun, the highest-ranking woman in the world's smallest state, per Reuters.

The big picture: Petrini's appointment is the latest attempt from Francis to improve gender balance, a promise the Pope made years ago.

  • In February, Francis appointed 52-year-old French Sister Nathalie Becquart as an undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops.
  • Petrini will serve as the secretary-general of the Governorate of the State of Vatican City. The Governorate oversees more than 2,000 employees, per Reuters.
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