Blachet becomes Chile’s first female president

// 16 January 2006

Chile elected its first female president yesterday. Michelle Bachelet, “a Socialist, a doctor and a former political prisoner and exile” triumphed at the polls at the expense of conservative businessman Sebasti\xE1n Pi\xF1era.

Bachelet defied critics, who argued that Chile’s men would not vote for a female leader. The New York Times says:

Ms. Bachelet, a single mother who has juggled her career and the demands of raising three children ever since she entered government service little more than a decade ago, is the first woman in the region to win an election without an assist from the coattails of a more famous spouse.

Let’s hope her victory bodes well for women’s rights in Chile and the rest of South America.

Talking of which, I’m not sure what to make of this one: Brazilian prostitutes are putting on an alternative catwalk show during Rio de Janeiro’s biannual fashion show this week, Reuters reports.

Even spectators from the upscale Fashion Rio events cut away to catch the Davida show on a purple-carpeted, narrow street in central Rio, off a square where prostitutes typically solicit customers.

“We’re thin, fat, old and young. Not like those models that are all thin,” de Castro said. “We have flesh that men like.”

Apart from dresses designed to lure clients, the Davida group also makes casual wear for activist work, such as AIDS prevention.

While fashion design sounds like a better career move, and a positive thing to do, I’m not sure that clothes displaying “flesh that men like” or potentially glamourising prostitution aren’t even worse that the rigours of an average fashion show.

In the UK, a survey reveals that only four in 100 equity traders are women. This is bourn out by my own (meagre) experience of finance: it is incredibly difficult to find a female financial analyst to comment for a story.

Maybe this is why:

London club owner Peter Stringfellow said the men of finance work hard under great pressure and when they finish a multimillion-dollar deal they’re not going to go to McDonald’s and be asleep at 10 p.m.

“They want to take their client somewhere they can enjoy an excellent meal in the restaurant, drink fine wine and look at the beautiful girls,” said Stringfellow.

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