Skip to main content

IDB will host a roundtable with women political leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean

The Inter-American Development Bank will host a roundtable with women political leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean and members of the press at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., on March 28 from 3:30pm to 5:00pm.

The meeting, which will highlight priority issues on the agenda of women leaders today and strategies employed to achieve their goals, will feature Billie Miller, senior minister and minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade of Barbados; Beatriz Paredes, president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of Mexico; Nemecia Achacollo Tola, first vice president of Congress of  Bolivia; Marta Lucía Ramírez, senator of Colombia; Epsy Campbell Barr, president of the Citizen Action Party (PAC) of Costa Rica;  congresswomen Maria Antonieta Saa of Chile; legislators Dayana Martínez Burke of Honduras and Olga Ferreira de Lopez of Paraguay.

During the morning, the speakers will join members of the U.S. Congress to celebrate the dramatic political gains made by women in electoral politics during the past decade—and assess the challenges women confront today. They will analyze the obstacles to full equity and how to overcome them. And they will consider whether having women in power makes any difference.

There is much to celebrate. For the first time ever, two women are elected heads of state in the Americas—President Michelle Bachelet of Chile and Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller of Jamaica. From 2000 to 2006, the number of women in cabinet positions has jumped from 14 to 21 percent—and from14 percent to nearly 20 percent in national legislatures. Even more dramatic gains were made in some countries: women head 50 percent of the ministries in Chile, and in Paraguay and Peru, women represent  40 percent of the cabinets. In Costa Rica and Argentina, women hold nearly 40 percent of legislative seats. 

Challenges remain. In four countries—Colombia, Uruguay, Guatemala, and Jamaica—there are fewer women in the legislature now than in 2000. Only 9 percent of Brazil’s lower house of Congress is female, and 8 percent of Colombia’s and Guatemala’s.

Women in the Americas: Paths to Political Power, is co-sponsored by Inter-American Development Bank, Inter-American Dialogue, League of Women Voters of the United States, and Organization of American States.

Background materials prepared for the events include a “report card” with updated information on the number of women who occupy positions of political power in each country of the hemisphere. Other papers will analyze the impact of quotas and the role of political parties in facilitating women’s political empowerment; women's performance in senior positions; and the unique experience of Afro-descendant women in politics.

The event will be held at the IDB Enrique Iglesias Auditorium, 1330 New York Ave, N.W., CR-201.

Jump back to top