May 14, 2016. By Jonathan Gilbert for The New York Times.
BUENOS AIRES — In Argentina, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has been indicted, accused of endangering the nation’s finances. In Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff is facing an impeachment trial, and her interim successor has appointed only male ministers. In Chile, President Michelle Bachelet, once hugely popular, has seen her approval ratings plunge.
What has happened to the powerful women of South America?
Mrs. Kirchner was indicted on Friday, and Ms. Rousseff was suspended by Congress a day earlier, potentially sidelining two of the region’s most influential women. With Ms. Bachelet’s government also deeply unpopular, some might be tempted to question how advances by women could seemingly be reversed.
“If we women throw our weight about in a realm that has been exclusive to men, it’s logical that these things will happen,” said Norma Amorín, 73, a retired beautician here.
The fates of all three leaders today contrast sharply with their standing five years ago. In 2011, Ms. Rousseff began her presidency; Mrs. Kirchner won a second consecutive term; and Ms. Bachelet, after completing her first presidential term with approval ratings of more than 80 percent, led a United Nations agency.