Is there gender equality in the governments of Latin America?

Women had been pushed aside for decades from ministerial positions in Latin American governments.

Monica Zalaquett Said and Claudia Sheinbaum

The region is in line with the global trend of gender equality, increasing the participation of women in the different ministries and secretariats. Photos: IG-monica_zalaquett, IG-claudia_shein,

LatinAmerican Post | Moises Campos

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Leer en español: ¿Cómo va la equidad de género en los gabinetes de Latinoamérica?

In Latin America, there is a slight increase in the participation of women in the presidential cabinets, regardless of whether they are from the left or from the right. Currently, only three countries in the region have been able to establish a certain balance within their cabinet: Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico. The region is in line with the global trend of gender equality , increasing the participation of women in the different ministries and secretariats. However, it is still far from equilibrium.

Gender equity in the region

In the region, gender equality within cabinets has become an issue that occupies a place on the presidential agendas, but very few manage to complete these quotas:

Costa Rica

In this country, since 2018 the cabinet is made up mainly of women, they preside 55.17% of the ministries; as can be seen in the report made by the Gender Equality Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean on its website.


Women are highly underrepresented in ministerial positions during Alberto Fernández's presidency, as can be seen in the Government's State Map. Of the 20 ministries that currently exist, only three are headed by women, although it is noteworthy that one of these ministries is Security, since they are not typically ministries led by women. In addition to this, the other ministries led by women are the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity. This fact contradicts the feminist discourse that the president has raised and that even has the support of former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, now vice president.


As can be seen on the website of the country's president Iván Duque, of the 18 ministries that make up the cabinet, only 4 are chaired by women (given the recent departure of Foreign Minister Claudia Blum). However, there are some empty wallets that could be replaced by women and thus improve female participation a bit. This is very much in contradiction with the announcement he made at the beginning of his mandate to leave a joint cabinet of 50% men and 50% women.

Also read: Colombia: why has there been no consensus with the demands of the strike?


In this country, led by Jair Bolsonaro, of 17 ministries, only two are led by women (1 is added with the Government Secretariat with Flavia Arruda), as can be seen on the Brazilian government website. These are: the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights, and the Ministry of the Government Secretariat; being one of the countries where gender equity in the cabinet is poorest.


Sebastián Piñera has 24 ministries of which only seven are lead by women. These ministries are the Ministry of Women and Gender Equity, the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Sports.


In Mexico, the cabinet of the leftist president López Obrador is made up of 19 Secretariats, of which nine are headed by women. This is one of the countries where gender equality is almost achieved. The cabinets are the Ministry of the Economy, the Ministry of Security, Public Function, Labor, Education, Culture, Energy, Environment, and the Ministry of the Interior, as can be seen on the presidential page. In the rest of the countries of the region, although an attempt has been made to establish gender equality in the cabinets, much remains to be done.

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