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Women rising to positions of power in South America

Elections in several countries in South American demonstrate the trend of Latina women rising to positions of power. Voters will have the opportunity to elect intelligent women who show strength in leadership.

Susana Villaran was recently elected as Lima, the capital of Peru’s, first female mayor. The moderate leftist edged out her competition, another woman, Lourdes Flores, of the Social Force Party. Villaran gained her fame as an advocate for human rights, according to NPR.

In Brazil, Dilma Rousseff is likely to become the first female president. Though she did not win a enough votes to avoid a runoff election on Sunday, October 3, Voice of America News reports that she is still the people’s favorite for the position.

Rousseff was chosen by current president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. She served as her chief of staff, and he has deemed her as an important player in his administration’s success. Though she recently survived a bout of cancer, Rousseff will continue to run in a second election at the end of this month.

Latin America already has two female presidents – Michelle Bachelet of Chile and Cristina Elizabet Fernandez de Kirchner, of Argentina. Both were elected in the past four years, showing the increasing support of women in leadership positions.

These two women have received many acknowledgements for the improvements they have brought to the nations they lead. Fernandez de Kirchner has been featured on the Forbes list of 100 most powerful women for three consecutive years, while the Winnipeg Free Press reports that Bachelet recently was awarded the prix international courage au feminin for her work with human rights and liberty.

“We women were always expected to take care of the house, and that alone,” Jacqueline Campos, of Brazil, told the Christian Science Monitor. “Now we have much more to offer. We might lead the country.”

Women’s representation in Latin American legislatures increased by 35 percent between 2000 and 2008, according to the news source. Much of this was spurned on by the successful campaign of the now leaders of Chile and Argentina.

Women in leadership roles may provide some hope to a population that has largely gone unrepresented in governments. Many women have had to rely on their male family members’ income for support. For instance, some women may seek assistance from family members living abroad who send moneyto pay for things like clothing, medicine and education.

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