Michelle Bachelet, the first woman elected president of Chile, appointed 10 women and 10 men to her Cabinet last Tuesday, fulfilling her campaign promise of a gender-balanced Cabinet. Women will fill the high-power positions of defense minister, economic minister, and chief of staff. “These are people with considerable intellectual, professional and political prestige,” said Bachelet of her appointees, according to the Associated Press.
With its gender-balanced Cabinet, Chile joins the ranks of Sweden Ð whose Cabinet has been 40 to 50 percent women since 1995 Ð and Spain, whose Socialist Worker’s party appointed a Cabinet of eight men and eight women when it took power in spring of 2004. Chile’s government now far outranks the US in gender equity Ð with only two women, President Bush’s current Cabinet is 87 percent men.