Women are gaining ground as presidents of Latin America. Women leaders in presidential systems (particularly women directly elected by the public) were generally limited to daughters and wives of male executives or opposition leaders. With the election of Michelle Bachelet in Chile, these traditional patterns appeared to be shifting. This book asks: what conditions allowed for a broadening of routes, beyond family ties, for women in Latin America? Do women presidents of Latin America use their powers to enhance women’s representation?
While providing valuable insight into the big picture of women in presidential politics throughout Latin America over the last several decades, this book more closely analyzes four women presidents gaining office since 2006: Michelle Bachelet (Chile) Cristina Fernández (Argentina) Laura Chinchilla (Costa Rica) and Dilma Rousseff (Brazil). It assesses the paths and impacts of Latin American women presidents and scrutinizes the ways gender shapes both aspects. No other scholar has offered such an in-depth analysis of the paths and actions of women presidents of Latin America. As such, this book offers important contributions to the gender in politics literature. Its multi-methodological approach consisting of original data collection from field work and in person interviews of political elites and experts combined with an analysis of a host of secondary sources including media articles and public opinion data makes this work exceptionally comprehensive. Its findings are applicable to those studying women, gender, and politics as well as comparative politics, Latin American politics, and leadership studies.
CONTENTS: 1. Introduction 2. Political Backdrops 3. Backgrounds and Campaigns 4. Leadership Styles, Policy Successes, and Challenges 5. Descriptive Representation 6. Symbolic Representation 7. Substantive Representation 8. Conclusions
Farida Jalalzai is the Hannah Atkins Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science at Oklahoma State University. Her research analyzes the representation and behavior of women and minorities in politics and the role of gender in the political arena. She has published extensively on many topics including women national leaders, gender and Congress, gender and media coverage, and Muslim American political behavior and discrimination since 9/11.
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