Panel Paper: Social Policy Under Women Presidents in the Americas

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Building 5, Sala Maestros Lower (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Victoria Rodríguez and Ashlyn Webb, University of Texas, Austin

This paper builds on an extensive body of scholarly work on women’s political representation as presidents and prime ministers worldwide, but attempts to systematically study the presence and performance of women as chief executives in the Americas. During the last dozen years women have served as presidents of the three most important countries in South America – Argentina, Brazil, and Chile – as well as in Costa Rica in Central America. Over the past five years, we have conducted extensive fieldwork for a major research project analyzing the presidencies of Michelle Bachelet, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Dilma Rousseff, and Laura Chinchilla. This paper is based on that body of work and goes beyond analyzing political biographies and the rise of women to political power by tracing their career trajectories; instead, it focuses on the policy agendas and policy priorities of the women holding the top political office in their respective countries, with a specific focus on social policy. This research is the subject of a book scheduled for publication next year.