Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Salvador Velazco

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Rights Information

© 2014 Claudia Raigoza


This thesis explores the leadership styles of three female presidents in Latin America: Michelle Bachelet (Chile), Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Argentina) y Dilma Rousseff (Brazil). These three women were chosen because each has been the first generally elected female president in their respective countries. Each woman’s profile is divided into two parts: 1) an expository evaluation of the life and career of each woman, and 2) a case study of her specific leadership style based on a particular event or challenge faced during her presidency. It is important to understand the political trajectories of these women because they demonstrate how certain cultural, structural, and institutional barriers have broken over time, allowing more women to ascend to the highest political offices. On the other hand, each case serves to enrich our holistic understanding of some of the current female presidents and in what ways they have been successful leaders. In general, Bachelet has been a transformational leader, Fernández de Kirchner has been a charismatic leader, and Rousseff has been an authentic relational leader. Through these case studies, we see that there is no one “feminine” leadership style, a conclusion which coincides with the existing literature.