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  • Author: Magda Hinojosa
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Dilma Rousseff. Laura Chinchilla. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Michelle Bachelet. The political successes of these women should not divert our attention from the sizeable gender imbalance in politics that exists across the region. Slightly more than half of all Latin American citizens are female, but women occupy only one of every seven seats in legislatures—and only one of every 20 mayoral posts in the region. In fact, the existence of a presidenta appears to tell us little about how women fare politically in her country. Although Dilma Rouseff holds Brazil's highest office, only 8.8 percent of federal deputies in Brazil are women and only 14.3 percent of ministers are women. This is far behind the rest of the region. And despite Michelle Bachelet's success in Chile, women's representation in Chile's national legislature is below the regional average. [See Table 1] Women have made tremendous gains since the 1970s, when women's representation in Costa Rica's national assembly (at a mere 7 percent) was the highest in the region, and when five countries filled less than 1 percent of their legislative seats with women. The most striking changes in women's legislative representation have come since 2000—not coincidentally, after the majority of Latin American countries adopted gender quotas during the late 1990s.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America, Chile