17 January 2006

Interview with Michelle Chatelet

BerlinBear avatarI have no idea how they managed to get to speak to her so quickly, as I'm sure she's in great demand, but the Berlin-based newspaper Der Tagesspiegel today contains an interview with the President-elect of Chile, Michelle Chatelet. Obviously, it's in German, but for those of you who can speak German, it's worth a read. I did not previously know, for example, that Bachelet had lived in exile in the GDR for four years.

The most interesting bit of the interview is this section:

Mrs. Bachelet, women politicians are making inroads in Latin America. What particular advantages do women bring with them to the job?

We are just as capable as men and can run a country just as well. We women are efficient and sincere. We are prepared to fight for the things we believe in, with all our strength. And perhaps we are more likely to be able to give politics something of a human face. [My translation]
Interesting thoughts. I'm not sure that those qualities either a) can only apply to women, or b) apply to all women, but I certainly think she has a point regarding putting a human face on politics.

On a related topic to all this talk of women in power, the Spiegel English site has an article entitled The women of the World: Liberia and Chile elect female leaders, which is an interesting read. In it, the journalist notes that whereas Angela Merkel has been at pains not to 'play the woman card', other women leaders see it as an advantage and use it explicity as a way to mobilize the female vote. The article also looks at the Finnish president's upcoming battle to win re-election, and speculates as to whether a woman might also win the Peruvian presidential election in April.
Der Spiegel, I note, counts only 11 women political leaders in the world. They are overlooking - or perhaps choosing not to count - the Chief Islander of Tristan da Cunha, Anne Green. This is perhaps fair enough, since the CIA World Factbook tells me that Tristan da Cunha (St. Helena) is an overseas territory of the UK, and makes no mention of her. Perhaps I should revise my total of 12 downwards?