Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Chile’s Bachelet breaks new ground – appoints 50% female cabinet

When Michelle Bachelet was running for President of Chile, one of her campaign promises was to include more women in the decision-making areas of government. She was true to her word. Bachelet has named her cabinet and exactly half of them are women. Some were worried that she might be overruled by some of the hard-nosed men who hold senior positions in the various political parties that form her governing coalition, but she has made it clear that she will be the one making decisions. Some of the cabinet positions to be held by women are Minister of Defense (a post the Bachelet herself once held), Minister of Economy and Minister of Planning. Bachelet has also appointed a woman as her chief of staff.

This is good news for the women of Chile who are pinning their hopes on Bachelet to be a driving force for increasing female input in political matters and lessening the gender and social inequality Chilean women face.

Bachelet has also made it known that she will not tolerate much in the way of sexist crap from the media;

The subject of gender appeared at Monday's news conference - to her dislike. A reporter asked her who would give her "a little caress", since she doesn't have a husband.“I would have loved that if a man had been in my place he had been asked the same question," replied Bachelet, who lives with her three children aged 13 to 17. "I challenge you to ask that question to men"

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