Discourse, Politics, and Women as Global Leaders: The case of two South American
This talk presents my forthcoming edited volume Discourse, Politics and Women as
Global Leaders, co-edited with John Wilson, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. I
present an overview of the current state of women in higher office around the world,
drawing from the dozen chapters of the book that highlight women’s political leadership
in every global context. The majority of presentation focuses on a chapter that I coauthored with Florencia Cortes-Conde, Goucher College. That study is a comparison of
the presidencies of Michele Bachelet of Chile with that of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
of Argentina. Taking a Critical Discourse, multimodal perspective, the analysis focuses
on how the two women construct their roles as first female presidents of their respective
nations. Through their public discourse and the projected media persona, these two
women create distinct leadership styles. In so doing, new insights into the process for
women in attaining and maintaining the highest office in Latin America and around the
world can be inferred, as more and more women “crack the highest ceiling.”