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 Fern ndez (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.