Women & Politics in Latin America

In recent decades, Latin American women have won many hard-fought victories in their struggles for political representation. The region has inspired global trends in lawmaking for political gender parity; and a number of countries' legislative bodies are now 50% female, or even higher. This year, it appears virtually certain that Mexico will elect its first female president.

Still, significant challenges face women in Latin American politics. Political violence - harassment, threats, even femicide - discourages greater female political participation. Where parity-boosting quota laws are not strictly enforced, or where their incomplete coverage or loopholes undermine their effectiveness, women can remain at a structural disadvantage. Even in some cases where parity appears secure at a national level, local politics - where enforcement is often looser - is still dominated by men.

In this webinar, Canning House and our panel discussed the representation and roles of women, among other gender dynamics, in Latin American politics, through examination of a selection of country cases.


Prof Emerit Maxine Molyneux CMG

Emeritus Professor of Sociology of Sociology - University College London (UCL)

Prof Molyneux provides an overview of the path towards gender equality in Latin America, advances and obstacles to female political representation in the region, and asks whether women's presence in power has made a difference to policymaking.

Dr Karolina Gilas

Associate Professor - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Dr Gilas will discuss female political representation in Mexico and Argentina, considering the strength of the gendered electoral regimes of each country, legal and institutional reforms, key factors for success of parity laws, and the threat of democratic backsliding. 

Dr Debora Thome

Postdoctoral Researcher, Centro de Política e Economia do Setor Público - Fundação Getulio Vargas, FGV

Dr Thome discusses Brazil's electoral gender rules, examining why the country appears to be lagging behind in female political representation in the legislature, and the role of feminist movements and other political pressures.

Dr Christina Ewig

Professor of Public Affairs; Director, Center on Women, Gender & Public Policy - University of Minnesota

Dr Ewig covers Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, discussing ethnic and gender parity dynamics and intersections, and examining their broader impacts on the inclusivity of policy agendas.

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