In the history of Latin America, female leadership has reached significant milestones in recent decades. With the recent election of Claudia Sheinbaum in Mexico on June 2, 2024which marks an unprecedented event in Mexican politics, the number of women who have held the Presidency in the region rises to 15.

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Although executive positions in Latin America continue to be dominated mostly by men, the number of countries that have had female presidents exceeds those that have not experienced female leadership. The arrival of Xiomara Castro to the Presidency of Honduras in 2021 and of Dina Boluarte to that of Peru in 2022 has expanded the list of Latin American nations with women in the head of State or Government.

Women who have been presidents in Latin American countries

The first woman to assume the presidency of a Latin American country It was María Estela Martínez de Perón in Argentina, known as Isabelita, who became president in 1974 after the death of her husband, Juan Domingo Perón. Her term ended in 1976 due to a coup d’état.

In 2007, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner became the first woman in Argentina to be directly elected president, succeeding Néstor Kirchner. Fernández was re-elected in 2011 and completed her term in 2015.

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Violeta Barrios de Chamorro was the first woman in Latin America to be directly elected by popular vote. reaching the Presidency of Nicaragua in 1990 as a representative of an opposition coalition.

Michelle Bachelet also stands out for having been elected president of Chile twice, in 2006 and 2014. In Brazil, Dilma Rousseff was elected president in 2011although his term ended prematurely in 2016 due to impeachment.

In 2010, Laura Chinchilla won the elections in Costa Rica and governed until 2014. More recently, Xiomara Castro assumed the Presidency of Honduras in 2022.

In some cases, women have become President not by direct elections, but by succession. Rosalía Arteaga became interim president of Ecuador in 1997 after the ouster of President Abdalá Bucaram. In Peru, Dina Boluarte assumed the Presidency in 2022 after the dismissal of Pedro Castillo.

Bolivia has also had two presidents: Lidia Gueiler Tejada, who took office after the dismissal of General Alberto Natusch, and Jeanine Áñez, who came to power in 2019 after the political crisis and the resignation of Evo Morales.

Ertha Pascal-Trouillot was the first female president of Haiti and the first woman of African descent to become President on the continent in 1991. after the dismissal of Prosper Avril.

According to the UN, women in politics often work across party lines, promoting equality and fighting for the elimination of gender violence, parental leave and child care, pensions and electoral reforms.

However, at the current rate, Gender equality at the highest levels of decision-making will not be achieved for another 130 years.


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