“More than just a female fight. It is a matter of vision.“
The Chilean presidential election in 2013 is scheduled to be held in November. It would be an all-woman presidential race. Former Chilean leader Michelle Bachelet(the center-left Concertación coalition) is back from UN Women. She announced she would run for president. Meanwhile former Labor Minister Evelyn Matthei, the new candidate for Chile’s conservative ruling block, has officially registered her candidacy as well.
Bachelet served as the first woman president of Chile, from March 2006 to March 2010. The Chilean Constitution does not allow a president to serve two consecutive terms. Thus, she had to leave office when the term was over. However, she enjoyed an approval rating of 87%. Matthei, on the other hand, has joined the Independent Democrat Union (UDi) party and she is widely known as the “Iron Lady.” She became the third UDI presidential candidate after other strong candidates stepped down.
It is ensured that Chile’s next leader would be a women. However, this does not mean that Chilean women’s status has improved greatly. Women were granted the right to vote in national elections in 1949 and it was only in 1952 that women obtained the right to cast their votes for president. In Chile, only 12.7% of the members of Congress are women, far below Latin America’s average 22.4%. During Bachelet’s presidency, political parties rejected her proposal for quotas for women in politics.
Some have criticized that the up-coming election would merely be a fight among females. In her recent press interview, Bachelet counter-argued, “Such criticisms are discriminatory remarks against women. Have we ever talked that way when candidates were all men?” She added, “It is great to see that all the candidates are women. But we should keep in mind that it’s not just a female fight. It is about choosing a candidate who has better visions and policies.”