South American female mayorsSouth American
women mayors

By City Mayors Research*

ON THIS PAGE: South America has few female mayors | Women mayors in South America’s largest cities | Research

ON OTHER PAGES: Capital cities with women mayors | Women mayors in America | Women mayors in Europe | Europe's most powerful female mayors | Mayors, parties, politics | German women mayors in 2023

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South America has
few women mayors

September 2022: Women are grossly underrepresented at the top of local government in the majority of South American cities. The latest research by City Mayors reveals that, across the continent, only just over eleven per cent of large cities have female mayors. Earlier research covering Latin America, including Mexico, Central America and the Caribbeans, identifies some 15 per cent of towns and cities with women mayors.

In 2022, City Mayors Research visited 80 cities with populations of more than 500,000 and found that only nine (11.25%) had female mayors. Brazil is represented with three mayors, while Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and Bolivia have one ‘big-city’ female mayor each. Capital cities with women leaders include Bogotá, Santiago de Chile and Montevideo. Five mayors belong to political parties on the left, while the politics of two mayors are centrist. Parties on the right and the Greens are represented by one mayor each.

Separate research, carried out in 2018 by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbeans (ECLAC) in 29 Latin American countries, found that just over 15 per cent of mayors were female. The percentage of women mayors was over 40 per cent in Cuba and Nicaragua but only 12 per cent in Brazil and below 10 per cent in Bolivia and Ecuador.

Female mayors
in South America

8.0 million
Claudia López Hernández
Born 1970
Mayor since 2020
Party / politics: Alianza Verde (Green Alliance)
Claudia López graduated in finance, government and international relations from the Universidad Externado de Colombia. She has an MA in public administration and urban politics from Columbia University in New York and a PhD in political science from North-western University in Evanston, Illinois. From 2014 to 2018, State Senator. In 2018, Lopéz was the Green Alliance's presidential candidate. In October 2019, she was elected Mayor of Bogota and took office on 1 January 2020. She is Bogotá's first female mayor. In 2021, she was shortlisted for the World Mayor Prize.
Santiago de Chile
6.3 million
Irací Hassler
Born 1990
Mayor since 2021
Party / politics: Partido Comunista de Chile (Communist Party of Chile)
Iraci Hassler studied at the Swiss School in Santiago. Later she attended the University of Chile, where she studied commercial engineering and was a member of the University Senate from 2012 to 2014. Santiago city councillor from 2016 to 2021. She believes communist management at local level can change peoples' lives.
2.7 million
Cynthia Viteri
Born 1965
Mayor since 2019
Party / politics: Partido Social Cristiano (Social Christian Party) centre-right.
Cynthia Viteri received a law PhD from the University of Guayaquil. Before entering politics, she worked as a TV news reader. Member of the National Congress from 1997 to 2007. Member of the Constitutional Assembly from 2007 to 2008. Member of the National Assembly from 2009 to 2017. Viteri run for President in the 2006 presidential election, winning 10 per cent of votes cast.
1.9 million
Carolina Cosse
Born 1962
Mayor since 2020
Party / politics: Frente Amplio (Broad Front) left-wing coalition.
Carolina Cosse obtained a degree in electrical engineering from the University of the Republic in Montevideo. MA in mathematical engineering. From 2010 to 2015, President of the government-owned telecommunication ANTEL. Minister for Industry, Energy and Mining from 2015 to 2019.
El Alto
1.0 million
Eva Copa
Born 1987
Mayor since 2021
Party / politics: Movimiento al Socialismo-Instrumento Político por la Soberanía de los Pueblos (Movement for Socialism-Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples) left-wing.
Eva Copa obtained a degree in social services from the Public University of El Alto. During her time at the University, she became general secretary of the Local University Federation. State Senator for La Paz from 2015 to 2020. President of the Senate from 2019 to 2020.
Campo Grande
Adriane Lopes
Born 1976
Mayor since April 2022
Party / politics: Patriota (Patriot party) right-wing.
Adriane Lopes obtained a degree in law and theology and also studied public administration and city management. Deputy Mayor of Campo Grande from 2017 to 2022.
Marília Campos
Born 1961
Mayor since 2020, after having previously been mayor from 2004 to 2012
Party / politics: Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers Party) leftist
Marília Campos studied psychology. From 1990 to 1995, president of the union of bank employees in Belo Horizonte. City councillor from 2000 to 2004. First elected Mayor of Contagem in 2004 and re-elected in 2008. In 2014 she was elected to the Brazilian parliament for the state of Minas Gerais. In 2020, she was elected Mayor of Contagem for the third time.
Bettina Romero
Born 1978
Mayor since 2019
Party / politics: Partido Identidad Salteña (Salta Identity Party) centrist
Bettina Romero obtained a law degree from the University of Belgrano and an MA in South American political economics from Georgetown University. President of the Salta Nos Une Party and of the Foundation for Analysis and Reflection of Argentina (FUNDARA) an organisation dedicated to the investigation of social problems in areas such as gender, integration, health and employment. Salta state parliamentarian from 2017 to 2019.
Juiz de Fora
Margarida Salomão
Born 1950
Mayor since January 2021
Party / politics: Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers Party) leftist
Margarida Salomão obtained a degree in literature from the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, an MA in linguistics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Berkeley. She taught for 40 years at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora. From 1994 to 1998, Dean of Research. From 1998 to 2006 Dean of the university. Member for Minas Gerais at the Federal parliament from 2013 to 2020.

* The City Mayors research was conducted in August and September 2022. The research by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean dates from 2018

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