Did you know that Latin America is leading in Lady Leadership?
(Photo credit: University of Pittsburgh) Women in photo from left Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner;Chile, Michelle Brachelet;Brazil, Dilma Rousseff
While the US still mourns the attempt at a Female President, Latin America is representing in the Lady Leadership area and has been for quite a while. According to Global Gender Gap Report, in terms of political empowerment, the report ranks Nicaragua, Bolivia, Cuba and Costa Rica in the world’s top 20, while the U.S. lags behind at 73rd.
WOW! Just WOW! For the US to be such a super power the fact that our country is 73rd is appalling! Get it together US!
Let’s look into why this is the case.
Even though there is still a major Wage Gap in Latin American countries and according to Global Gender Gap Report, almost 29 percent of women don’t have their own source of income, compared to 12.5 percent of men, and on average, women earn 83.9 percent of what men earn, what makes the public, place women in government?
Latin American countries have implemented Gender Quotas. The introduction of quota systems for women represents a qualitative jump into a policy of exact goals and means. Because of its relative efficiency, the hope for a dramatic increase in women’s representation by using this system is strong. At the same time quotas raise serious questions and, in some cases, strong resistance. (source: http://www.quotaproject.org/aboutQuotas.cfm) Sadly, this great system will never be implemented by the US. But in the countries it has been implemented, women running for office rarely endure the scrutiny of the public, at least not in the way former First Lady Hillary Clinton did.
Latin America produces many tall, dark, and handsome men. These men tend to be known for their “macho” way of thinking. A women belongs in the kitchen at all that jazz, so how are these women rising in power?
Machismo divides women into two categories: sexual beings to be conquered and possessed, and mothers as authority figures that embody everything that is virtuous, gracious and worthy of praise in female nature. And in Latin culture the mother archetype is very powerful. (source: theguardian.com) So clearly, women are amazing in the eyes of Latin American men. Inside every little boy is the need to be nurtured, loved and highly regarded by their mother. I believe this has led to the notion that women can hold power in politics, and it is not an issue but a necessity.
The first woman to come into office is dated back to the 70’s when Isabel Peron was the first female President of Argentina.
As the years went on, many female candidates followed suit and rose to power. Violeta Chamorro in Nicaragua, Mireya Moscoso elected in Panama, 1999; Bachelet in 2006 and 2014, Chile ; Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2007 and 2011, Argentina; Dilma Rousseff in 2010, Brazil and, in the same year, Costa Rica elected Laura Chinchilla. (pictured in top photo)
Guess what happens when women become political leaders?
They pave the way for other women to follow in their footsteps. They create and break through barriers, and more often than not create movements, and organizations that benefit other ambitious women. Women helping women. It is powerful and amazing and the Latin Americans have it right.
Want to learn more? Click here for a full publication on Women’s Leadership in Latin America.