Costa Rican voters elected the country’s first woman president on Sunday: Laura Chinchilla

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From the NYT article entitled “Costa Rica Elects 1st Woman President in Landslide”:

… Chinchilla, the mother of a teenage son, is a social conservative who opposes abortion and gay marriage. She appealed both to Costa Ricans seeking a fresh face and those reluctant to risk the unknown.

As a female president, she would follow an increasingly common trend in many Latin American countries: Nicaragua, Panama, Chile and Argentina have all elected women as presidents.

Alfredo Fernandez, 77, said he has always voted for the National Liberation Party, but this time his ballot was special.

”It is an honor to be able to have a woman president,” he said.

Even Costa Ricans on the margins of society backed Chinchilla.

Heizel Arias, a 24-year-old single mother voted at a prison where she is serving an eight-year drug smuggling sentence.

”I voted for Laura Chinchilla because she has promised to fight for women,” Arias said. ”She was the only one who visited us and told us her plans and I believe in her.”

Okay, she doesn’t sound like a feminist, or someone I’d agree with much. But she may be able to accomplish a lot of positive changes for women in Costa Rica anyway. Here’s hoping.

–Ann Bartow

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