Helena Carreiras

Minister of Defence

Helena Carreiras

Helena Carreiras was born in 1965 in Portalegre.


She earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from ISCTE in 1987 and a master’s degree in 1994. She received her Ph.D. in Political and Social Science from the European University Institute in Florence in 2004 and composed her dissertation on gender integration policies in the Armed Forces of NATO nations.

She was tenured Associate Professor at ISCTE – Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL) in Sociology, Public Policy, Security and Defense, and Social Research Methodology, as well as a researcher for the Sociology Research and Studies Centre (CIES-IUL). In 1999, she was a visiting researcher at the Department of Women’s Studies at Berkeley University in California, and in 2013, she was a visiting professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

At ISCTE-IUL, she oversaw the Public Policy PhD program and established several curriculum modules and teaching programmes pertaining to security and defence, namely the Crisis Communication and Management and Public Security and Defence Policy postgraduate degrees (ISCTE-IUL/IDN).

Throughout her tenure, she has held a variety of leadership positions. She was the deputy director of the National Defense Institute from 2010 to 2012, and the dean of the ISCTE-IUL School of Sociology and Public Policy from 2016 to 2019. She was also the deputy director of the Sociology Research and Studies Centre (CIES) (2015) and the Institute for Public and Social Policy (IPPS) (2018-2019). Since 2019, she has been the Director of the National Defense Institute.

She was Vice-Chair of the Portuguese Sociology Association (1994-1996) and the Research Committee on Armed Forces and Conflict Resolution of the International Sociology Association (2014/…), as well as a member of the European Sociology Association (2009-2013) and chair of the ERGOMAS-European Research Group on Military and Society (2017-2019).

She served on the Military Higher Education Board (2011-2012), the General Board of ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute (2017-2019), and the General Board of the Military University Institute (2017-2020). Her primary areas of interest and research are the Armed Forces and society, public security and defense policy, gender sociology, and the epistemology of the social sciences. She has conducted extensive research on the relationships between the Armed Forces and society, with an emphasis on the integration of women into military institutions.

She is the author or editor of fourteen books, forty-eight chapters in books, and twenty-seven articles in specialized journals.