Week of 9.19.08
Transcript: Women, Power and PoliticsHINOJOSA: I'm Maria Hinojosa, in this week for David Brancaccio.
What a roller-coaster year it's been for women in politics in this country. Just a few months ago, one woman was poised to lead a major political party into the presidential elections. That didn't happen. But there now is a woman on one of the tickets—just not at the top. You might be surprised to learn, though, that the United States ranks 69th in the world in the percentage of women holding national political office. In fact, most developed countries are way ahead of us. Why is that? I've spent several months going across the country and around the world for some answers. Mary Olive Smith produced our report.
Are women changing the face of power around the world? Hillary Clinton's drive to become the first woman president came up short. Then Republicans surprised everyone by putting Sarah Palin on the presidential ticket.
And what about this woman—who is in a tough battle to unseat an incumbent for a U.S. Senate seat in November?
SHAHEEN: The middle class is struggling and we've go to do a better job.
HINOJOSA: In Chile, one woman has made it to the presidency.
BACHELET: Viva Chile!
HINOJOSA: While the small African country of Rwanda sets an example for the world.
ALOISEA: These are great women. These are the mothers of the nation.
HINOJOSA: Is a new generation of women rising in America? Will they lead differently than men? And will women leaders be a force that changes the world?
DAN: Um, 12:30 to 1:00 you have lunch, and then one o'clock headed in, headed to Loudon for the New Hampshire Good Roads Expo.
HINOJOSA: In the state of New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen mounts her campaign for the U.S. Senate.
SHAHEEN: Dan, have you found anybody to go with me, yet?
DAN: No, we've spoken to a few people.
SHAHEEN: Okay, Paul Worsawitz would also have some suggestions.
WOMAN'S VOICE: Paul Worsawitz is also on vacation this week, Governor.
SHAHEEN: Oh, everybody's on vacation, huh?
SHAHEEN: Everybody but us.
HINOJOSA: From the war room...To the campaign trail...it's a bare-knuckled brawl against incumbent Republican John Sununu.
SHAHEEN: I think we've got to make some changes so I hope you'll help me.
HINOJOSA: The entire Democratic party is counting on this win and the pressure is on.
I wanted to know more about how politics and leadership works for a woman.
SHAHEEN: We need in a voice in Washington who is going to be more than just rhetoric, but is going to provide action as well.
HINOJOSA: Back in 1996, Shaheen made history. A former school teacher with an unshakeable calm, she was the first woman governor elected in the state.
And the 14th in the history of the United States.
SHAHEEN: Alrighty, let's go. We're going to a house party with a woman named Susie Parker with her friends and neighbors. This has got to be it.
HINOJOSA: A popular three-term governor in a conservative state, Shaheen made a big deal about expanding kindergarten, health care and energy independence. But she lost her first bid for the U.S. Senate against John Sununu in 2002.
In the aftermath of 9/11 Shaheen says national security was the most prominent concern in voters' minds.
SUNUNU: I'll provide that leadership to break the log jam on issues important to New Hampshire, working with President Bush to pass a homeland security bill.
HINOJOSA: And men were seen as stronger on that issue. Nationwide, women candidates did poorly. Shaheen left politics behind and took up teaching at Harvard. Now she's back for a rematch.
SHAHEEN: Hello! So nice to see you!
SUSIE: Hello! Thank you so much for coming.
Everyone, I am so pleased to welcome you here to my home in Manchester to get to know, Governor Shaheen. We had this affinity and your values were very much the same as mine, even though I am a Republican—no laughing! So it is really wonderful to be able to introduce you - Governor Jeanne Shaheen.
SHAHEEN: I'm really excited to be here today and excited to be in this race for the United States Senate. I have six grandchildren—my kids have been busy since left the governor's office -and you know I thought about what would I say to those grandchildren 10 years from now if they came back to me and said, you know "Govie, how come (they call me Govie) Govie, how come you didn't run against John Sununu back in 2008 when we had this historic opportunity to change the direction of the country." And I realized it really just wasn't good enough to say I wasn't willing to step up, I wanted my weekends off
This is the kind of election that each and everyone of us has to step up and do everything we can to change the future of the country, to make it work again for our children and grandchildren. So, thank you all again for being here. I hope you'll help me.
HINOJOSA: Shaheen starts the summer ahead in the polls.
WOMAN: Well I'm very happy you're running I must tell you.
SHAHEEN: Well thank you.
HINOJOSA: I can see she has a natural steadiness about her but she's in a pressure cooker.
The fact is, 98% of incumbents are re-elected, and the majority of those are men.
Today women make up just 16 percent of congress. And there are only eight women governors. While it was a first for the Republicans when John McCain chose a woman as his vice presidential candidate, governor Sarah Palin's experience as a leader and her role as a mother of five quickly proved as controversial as her politics.
PALIN: I was just your average hockey mom and signed up for the PTA.
HINOJOSA: And her critics are being accused of sexism. But for Hillary Clinton, was it sexism or the brutal reality of politics that led to her defeat? That question stirred up a lot of soul searching this summer.
CLINTON: Like millions of women, I...
HINOJOSA: When it comes to women in politics in America...why has it been so difficult?
CLINTON: ...know there are still barriers and biases out there.
HINOJOSA: Questions arose about her campaign style, at times making her gender as much of an issue as her policies.
Three weeks later when Clinton spoke at a rally in unity, New Hampshire, to show her support of Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, I wondered, what does Clinton's loss tells us about the relationship of women, power and politics in America...
CLINTON: The country is ready, now we need the leadership to make it happen.
HINOJOSA: Jeanne Shaheen, who's faced these issues in her career takes the stage at the same rally.
SHAHEEN: When I first ran for Governor I was referred to in the newspaper as Betty Crocker... and that was meant as a compliment. So thank you Hillary Clinton, for proving that a woman can run for the highest office in this country.
HINOJOSA: Do you think, Governor, is it still too risky, in the year 2008, for you to say, "I'm gonna run for Senate, and you should really consider voting for me because I'm a woman."
SHAHEEN: Well, I don't know that I would make that argument. I want to make the strongest argument that I can to the voters of New Hampshire, about why I'm gonna be a better choice than John Sununu. But we know that we all bring to whatever we do, our life experiences. And for women, our life experiences are different than for men. They're not better, they're not worse. But they're different. And we bring those um, priorities and those experiences to the table when we make decisions.
HINOJOSA: So when you think about how Hillary Clinton ran her campaign, what do you take away from that?
SHAHEEN: It shouldn't be a story that a woman's running as a Commander In Chief, or that she's running with a soft side. I mean the story should be what she has to say on the issues, and what she's done in her career. Just as most stories don't say that y'know the men appeared in their blue suits and red ties. Um, and it should, we should get to the point that where it doesn't matter whether women have on a pink suit, or a red suit, or a blue suit. Um, and when we get to that point, then we will be getting to parity.
HINOJOSA: But getting to parity won't be easy. At the rate Americans are electing women to office, it will take 100 years before women and men are represented equally in Congress.
And in our advanced democracy, why hasn't a woman made it to the top...
While in other parts of the world, the push forward has come faster? Chile elected their first woman president—Michelle Bachelet—in 2006. We're meeting up with Bachelet for an appearance in a farming town called Talagante.
I've been fascinated by Chile since 1973. I remember watching the evening news as the presidential palace, La Moneda, went up in flames in a coup against democratically elected Socialist, Salvador Allende.
It's a country that went from a brutal dictatorship, under Augusto Pinochet, to a fledgling democracy—now with an outspoken woman president. One with great personal appeal.
HINOJOSA: Ok, well here she is. That's definitely her.
HINOJOSA: For the past two years Bachelet has been pushing to close the gender gap in wages. It's one of her biggest legislative initiatives. She hopes to get it passed this fall.
BACHELET: If you ask me, "are you an empowered woman?", yes I am an empowered woman. But, probably since I was born because I had a home with a loving and caring family, I had special role models at my home. A very open minded father even though he was a military. He always admired respect, and loved my mother.
HINOJOSA: But her father never got a chance to celebrate his daughter's success. The family opposed Pinochet's right wing coup. Michelle Bachelet's father was imprisoned, tortured and died of a heart attack when she was only 22. Soon she and her mother were also detained, tortured and eventually forced into exile. In East Germany Bachelet continued her studies to become a doctor. She then made the astonishing decision to return to Chile, while the military forces responsible for her torture were still in power. When Pinochet's regime finally fell, Bachelet made her entry into politics —first as Minister of Health, then as Minister of Defense. But it wasn't until a horrible flood took place in 2002 that one photo would change everything. This female Minister of Defense wearing a military cap and riding a tank created a sensation. Bachelet was seen as a compassionate protector. It wasn't long before her party asked her to run for president. And in 2006, she won.
BACHELET: ¡Viva Chile!
PEOPLE OF CHILE: ¡Viva!
BACHELET: If you had asked me five years ago, you're gonna be the next President of the Republic I would have laughed because I wasn't looking for it.
HINOJOSA: Bachelet says she is trying to create a citizen government, to return Chile to its democratic roots she's often quoted: "I say what I believe and I do what I say." Bachelet is divorced, has one child out of wedlock, and is not religious. How did this traditional patriarchal society go for her?
WOMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, we receive her Excellency President of the Republic, Michelle Bachelet.
BACHELET: Maybe history will tell what happened and why I came here and all that, because there's so many interpretations. Some people said its because people needs on one hand authority, but also needs you know somebody to protect them. So some people said, "like you are the big mother of everybody." We've been acting sensibly and responsibly so that social programs that we have to attend to won't be cut. When I am talking about social protection, it's not a Mom issue. It's a social justice issue. It's a way I understand the society must be. It's how I feel that in society we have to guarantee um uh social rights to everybody. Not only political rights, but also social and economical rights.
And I hope that at the end of my presidency I can stand before you with these promises fulfilled.
HINOJOSA: President Bachelet thrives in the crowds. People want to be close to her, touch her, hug her.
What does it mean to see a woman running your country?
WOMAN #1: Now that we have a woman president, we feel like we have a voice.
HINOJOSA: How is it possible that you can have a country that you say is a machista country, when you elected a woman president?
WOMAN #2: Because we united as women and even convinced our husbands that there needed to be change, because we've always had men as presidents, so why not give women a try? That's how we can give our future children equality and a better world with more solidarity and less violence.
BACHELET: And one of the things that women ask me, "How can we change this idea of women not having authority?" Authority is linked to, a little bit like tough guys, you know?
I am person who believes in dialogue and understanding. But there is a minute when you have to make decisions.
And I, I have made tough decisions. I'm a doctor. If somebody has a heart attack I won't call a commission. I will just do whatever is needed. But when there's something that is not urgent, that you have to take a little bit of time to understand completely all its significance, I take that time. And not only by myself, I call a lot of people so they can give me good suggestions, because I think to command it's also to articulate capacities, to produce uh you know opinions in favor of what you are doing, and I do that.
HINOJOSA: Do you feel in fact that you're confronting, still, this old, machista political class that is saying, "She's a woman, we're not gonna let her succeed, we're gonna make this really hard for her"?
BACHELET: Nobody had told me that. And um, I cannot imagine a man who can out loud say that.
HINOJOSA: You can't?
BACHELET: Out loud.
HINOJOSA: While Bachelet pushes equal pay legislation that would directly improve Chilean women's lives...in New York City a new generation of young women is finding a way to speak out. I want to see what challenges future women in power will face —so I'm on my way to an all girls high school debate competition at the Beacon school.
SHIRA: It's very important for our country to have a woman leader because for a country that preaches so much about equality, and so much about you know this is a place where you can come and make money and change your life, I think that we don't offer such equal opportunities within society because why are we still struggling with this issue?
HINOJOSA: Shira Almelah is a high school junior from Queens.
SHIRA: I hope we'll see a woman president, because every woman needs to see someone who is a woman be a leader of this country.
WILL BAKER: Good morning, y'all. And congratulations on participating.
HINOJOSA: The buzz here? That a young woman named Brooklyn Camille-Penson is one tough debater.
BROOKLYN: I just think the biggest obstacles are people not believing that women have the same capabilities as men. You can be in any field, you can be doing any hobby, you can be doing anything and people will still assume that men are better at it.
WILL BAKER: Be persuasive, be sharp, be the amazing young women that you can be.
HINOJOSA: Debate is a competitive sport in high school and college. A lot of girls join debate teams but then drop out, as they feel the pressure to fit into society's expectation of what is feminine.
BROOKLYN: I feel like sometimes guys also get paid more attention to. If there's talent in a guy it will be, I guess, nourished more than if a girl has the same amount of talent.
SHIRA: There are so many girls that have amazing abilities that people wouldn't even know about because they're lacking the confidence they need in order to show people. And I think that that's why debate is such a great opportunity.
HINOJOSA: When I was a girl growing up I didn't feel powerful at all. But there was one woman who was a role model for me during the 1970s—Bella Abzug. Everytime she would get in front of a microphone she would speak her mind. Bella was in Congress from New York from 1971 to 1977. Everyone remembers her outrageous hats, but it was her drive to level the playing field for women and the poor that I remember most.
BELLA ABZUG: We are going to enter into the 200th anniversary of this great nation in 1976 in a way in which we the women have given leadership not only to our own needs and our own demands but in the hopes and the aspirations of all Americans that we can complete the American Revolution for all of us in nineteen hundred and seventy six.
LIZ ABZUG: She had an amazing ability to combine the strategy, the heart, the soul and the compassion of her ideas, and move, make amazing social change. We haven't nurtured enough of those skills, and those, those attributes in our young girls.
HINOJOSA: Now it's Bella's daughter Liz who's investing in the next generation. She's hosting this debate through the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute.
LIZ ABZUG: We're very honored and pleased to have you girls from different high schools here today and we wanted to form this institute and support you to make you and help you realize that you have your seat at the table that the boys can't control it all, that the girls have to have 50/50. You have to be strong and not be afraid to speak up. So congratulations at the beginning of this debate, we wish you luck and, onwards and upwards. Thank you.
HINOJOSA: The competition is on...the debaters are paired up against teams from other high schools for the first eliminating round.
SHIRA: When people look at me they expect me to be a reserved, nice, shy little girl in high school and it's an amazing feeling to get up in front of people and when I see the look on their faces when I open my mouth and give a speech.
The internet dictates to the entire human race what is required and exploits beauty to create expectations that not everyone lives up to.
LIZ ABZUG: I'm in the life to try and encourage women, and to let themselves flourish. And to show their stronger sides. And to share their visions and their views in an aggressive way, in an assertive way. In a way that is gonna, y'know effectuate change.
GIRL: The internet is a source of media which perpetuates the misrepresentation of others. It provides articles, blogs and images of people that feeds into different stereotypes.
BROOKLYN: So my first question for you is where do you think this gap starts from? Like what do you think the root cause of this gap is?
GIRL: It's this case since they are so different they use computers for different purposes. Like in my definition.
HINOJOSA: As I watch these strong young women eager to speak their minds, I think about the lessons they get from people like Liz and Bella Abzug.
How they open the doors for the next generation by giving them tools to own their own power.
This is why I decided to come to Rwanda. Could a lesson be learned 7,000 miles away in the beautiful mountains of east Africa?
People think of Rwanda and they think of destruction. About 15 years ago a massacre stirred by ethnic tensions left almost a million people dead in a span of 100 days. The genocide left indelible scars. But Rwanda has rebounded economically. And something extraordinary has happened on the political side. A greater percentage of women have been elected to Rwanda's lower house of Parliament than in any other nation in the world. Nearly half are women. President Paul Kagame's government has made a concerted effort to bring women into positions of leadership, many Rwandans believe that women are better at reconciliation and maintaining peace and are less susceptible to corruption.
The question that I have is from all of this sadness how does good come out of this and what role do women play in changing the history of Rwanda. So I have a lot of questions.
Here in the capital city of Kigali, I meet up with a woman sometimes called "the mother of the country." Aloisea Inyumba earned that title by being appointed as the first minister of family, gender and social affairs immediately after the genocide. She oversaw the burial of the dead and the resettlement of refugees. She also organized an extraordinary adoption campaign urging Rwandan mothers to adopt orphans across ethnic lines. It reduced the number of orphans from half a million to 4,000. Now she's a senator in the upper house of Parliament and a working mom. We meet early one morning in the Senate chambers.
INYUMBA: I think our President was very visionary. He knew if Rwanda was going to succeed the women were going to be the anchor and the force behind the national process of this country.
HINOJOSA: When you look at the United States, and the position of women in politics, what do you see?
INYUMBA: I would say that your elections and your campaigns are very commercial, y'know. Y'know for us, it's about human basic values. It's about my commitment to the constituents I represent. The people in Africa, specifically in our country, know the importance of good leadership, because we've suffered because of bad leaders. So the people will always judge and see. Is this someone honest? It's so much about new values in leadership. Here in Rwanda we're thinking about our baby. It needs to be nurtured, with the best hands, the soft hands that can nurture a country.
HINOJOSA: So do you think, with the experience of Rwanda, and you look around the rest of the world, can you solidly say that women in politics, in power, lead differently than men?
INYUMBA: If I look at my colleagues, the women, there is a special honesty. When I compare to the politics in US or some other countries, we see a lot of resistance, when women are campaigning for political position, I don't envision such a situation in this country.
HINOJOSA: Many of the gains Rwandan women have achieved are the result of laws that granted new rights to women. In a society where women have long been subordinated—they can now own and inherit property and work without their husband's permission. Rwanda's new constitution mandates that women hold no less than 30% of the seats in Parliament. But the election in 2003 swept in well more than that—with 48.8% of the seats now held by women.
We drop in on an intense session of Parliament where a controversial health insurance resolution is being argued. It's clear that women here have found their voice and their power. But sharing that power isn't always easy.
It's astonishing to me how quickly Rwandan women have taken on leadership roles. Marie-Thérèse Mukamulisa is one of the six female justices of the Supreme Court.
There's the mayor of Kigali, the Minister of Trade, Minister of Education, Foreign Affairs, Infrastructure, and Information—all women.
And I pay a visit to Mary Gahonzire, Commissioner General, overseeing the entire Rwandan police force.
What is it that you believe you bring particularly in terms of a different style of leadership because you're a woman?
GAHONZIRE: Listening, it's no longer the issue of muscle. If you influence people to live harmoniously then you're on the right path.
HINOJOSA: Rwandan women have begun campaigning for the parliamentary elections this fall, with more women running than ever before in the country's history.
And they plan to go even further this time by winning a majority in the lower house.
On the other side of the world Jeanne Shaheen's battle for the Senate picks up pace in the state of New Hampshire.
SHAHEEN: Hi. Can I say Hello? I'm Jeanne Shaheen. Very nice to meet you. Former Governor here now running for the Senate. Very nice to meet you all. How are you, sir?
HINOJOSA: By the middle of the summer her opponent John Sununu has ratcheted up his attacks. Shaheen's early lead is narrowing. Either candidate could be the victor. It's all hands on deck now and Jeanne Shaheen has decided to bring on her daughter Molly as her executive assistant.
SHAHEEN: This is my youngest daughter, Molly.
WOMAN: The famous Molly.
SHAHEEN: Who just graduated from college and now she's working full time on the campaign.
HINOJOSA: I meet up with the governor and her daughter in the small town of Nashua.
Throughout her career Jeanne Shaheen has put a special emphasis on issues that directly affect women's lives.
How much is your desire to serve tied to: "I'm a Mom, I'm a woman, I'm a wife." You're a schoolteacher. How much of it comes from that?
SHAHEEN: Boy y'know, I don't know. I didn't start out as a child thinking I'm gonna grow up and run for Governor some day. Or, y'know run for public office. As I got more involved and saw more of the things that I thought we could change for the better. If we're gonna expand public kindergarten, If we're gonna make a difference for kids. If we're gonna y'know lower electric rates. Whatever the issue - then I can do this. I've got a I've got an agenda. I know that we can get this done for people.
HINOJOSA: It's not always been easy though.
SHAHEEN: No, public life is not easy.
HINJOSA: In fact
SHAHEEN: For anybody.
HINOJOSA: As the governor talks, I keep watching Molly. I wonder what it's like growing up with a mom in the political spotlight.
MOLLY: When she was first elected, I was only 10. And that was really, it was hard, cause all my friends' moms were home, and they were doing normal mom things, or, "normal mom" things I guess, and my mom was not. My first day of my senior year of high school. And I came home, and my mom was there. And I was like, "What are you doing here?" She was like, "Oh, do you want a snack?" I was like, "Wait a minute. No, I want you to go back to work cause this is weird, now, that you're home."
HINOJOSA: The campaign is just gearing up now. It's said that now is when it's gonna get tough.
SHAHEEN: Well, I think we're in a Presidential cycle. And, So that makes the timing a little different. We've just begun to engage with our opponent. They've begun to attack us. They fired the first negative attacks, done by a third party. And we will continue to respond to those, and to make the case that we need a change in this country.
HINOJOSA: You really do raise up the shirtsleeves, and you have to go for the jugular.
SHAHEEN: You do. But I think you can do that in a way, that's honest. You can point to the record.
HINOJOSA: Do you sometimes wish your Mom would be a little bit more -
HINOJOSA: You said it.
HINOJOSA: You do?
MOLLY: I'm a very aggressive person. I'm more of my Dad's personality than my Mom's. And I don't think that she's not aggressive because she's a woman. I think that she just looks at it, and rolls her eyes and says, "Well, y'know I'm gonna rise above it." And I think that's good, but at the same time, sometimes I just want her to take the gloves off.
HINOJOSA: Why do you think she doesn't?
MOLLY: Cause she's respectable.
HINOJOSA: And so the lesson for you as a young woman?
MOLLY: I think with my generation there's gonna be a lot more women who hold prominent positions. I mean you can just tell with the generation right above me. Y'know I went to school out in California and everybody would say, "Oh so your Dad was Governor?" I'd be like, "No, my Mom. Do you have any other questions?" You know, like I would be really offended by that. And I think that a lot of women, and a lot of girls, especially I went to school with, are gonna really start to take on those roles.
HINOJOSA: Over the past 30 years Jeanne Shaheen has broken barriers in her own way. Have her efforts paved the way for the next generation?
Back in New York city the next phase of the debate competition gets underway. Girls here are working hard to find their own voices as powerful people...and to win. Shira and her partner get a heated start.
SHIRA: What is beauty? It is all around us and defined for us through mass media. It is not up to us what to decide what makes a woman beautiful because the internet has made the decision for us. Right now.
HINOJOSA: Just down the hallway, Brooklyn and her partner get ready to compete against Beacon's home team. These girls look like they delight in owning their power. But I wonder, how long will that last?
LIZ: And I've asked my students in colleges, the women, the girls. And they say well, we sort of back off a little bit, several of us have. I've asked them in classes sometimes, Women in Leadership. Why do you think you've backed off from being as accomplished and competitive? Well, maybe its because we're looking for a mate. Maybe its because we don't want to over do it. I hear this from college kids today, girls!
BROOKLYN: Thank you all for your time, and I would like to begin by first stating that my team hereby affirms this debate resolution that dictates that there is a double standard for women running for president.
HINOJOSA: Brooklyn is a junior in high school. ...in her spare time she also practices Capoeria, a Brazilian martial art. She takes classes with her mom.
BROOKLYN: My mom is like my best friend, she encourages me all the time. She tells me that I can do anything that I want to do.
HINOJOSA: There is no doubt that Brooklyn, who dreams of going to Harvard or Dartmouth, is reaching high.
BROOKLYN: I am the chief of my literary magazine at school, the chief of the school newspaper. I'm on the school media team and I'm on the chess team.
If we continue to ignore the subordination of women then there will always be a double standard that is created um that is created when women run for office and I stand open for cross-ex.
I guess when I walk into a debate round sometimes people underestimate me. And I know that if I can change the way that people view things then the girl 20 years from now won't have to experience that.
HINOJOSA: Only two teams will make it to the finals. And while the girls wait for the results, my journey continues in Chile.
On the second day of our visit we drive two hours to the coastal city of Valparaiso. President Bachelet has come to preside over a military ceremony in which the soldiers make a solemn pledge of allegiance to the Chilean flag. Bachelet walks a careful line. She not only defends social justice, she defends the country as Commander in Chief.
BACHELET: May I tell you something? I started as The Minister of Defense. And I always said I had all the, it's a joke, capital sins with me, because I was a woman, I was a socialist, I was divorced, I was agnostic, and so on and then I the Minister of Defense. And probably at the beginning they have—they were very suspicious. I mean, they never show it, but I thought they were you know uncertain what would happen. And it was a wonderful experience and I have a wonderful relationship with the militaries. As a Minister and now as President. And they do understand that I am the Commander in Chief. It is a matter of working together. They see you make decisions. They see you try to understand the best and then make the wisest decision for the county. And they respect you. So I would say it's a matter of time also, Maria. Because you know you have to change so many role models.
HINOJOSA: But perhaps the president's biggest legacy will be the way she has improved everyday life for women in Chile.
You have created policies for breast feeding,
HINOJOSA: Making divorce legal,
HINOJOSA: Making sexual harassment an offense,
HINOJOSA: Increasing paternity responsibility, domestic violence.
HINOJOSA: Victims of rape now have homes where they can go to. Preschool...
BACHELET: A lot of things. And also, we are working on something that's very important for me. It doesn't depend only on me, is that we hope that in this country the gap of salary women and men will be solved. Because, I cannot understand why if a woman makes the same job as a man, with the same qualifications in the private sector they receive, that men are better paid than women and that's not possible at all. So...
HINOJOSA: I love it when you say, "I can't understand"...
BACHELET: I mean I understand. I don't like it, that's—its not that I don't understand. I don't like it. But on the other hand um I think to the symbol of having a female president. It's also a very important symbol for women to understand and to realize that it is possible what my mother told me when I was small. Women we can do anything. Sometime women feel very disappointed because as the society work they have to be wonderful mothers, wonderful professionals, wonderful lovers, wonderful wives. You know, and, and they have to look great! The good news is that women can do anything they want. But of course you have to organize yourself and see what is the priority today.
HINOJOSA: Bachelet is now more than half way through her 4-year term. It hasn't always been easy.
BACHELET: It's sometimes very lonely. Very lonely. And, and, and I always say because I—humor is one of the way, how I deal with problems. Black humor I would say. So, I always say when everybody's criticizing I say, okay, in the year 2045 a women will say, that was a wonderful government, you know? She did it great!
HINOJOSA: As President Bachelet continues to fight for equal pay in Chile, in Rwanda women are proving to be a powerful force—not only in the political arena—but also in reviving the economy.
And that leadership has emerged from the ground up. After the genocide—with so many men dead, in prison or in exile. Women across Rwanda became primary breadwinners and took the lead rebuilding their villages. Women in Rwanda now have more political power and economic power. But has it resulted in changes in their family life and community? We visit the marketplace to find out.
WOMAN: Equality means that now when I come home from work late, my husband is not upset. And he is proud that I have come home, and when I get home we do the chores together. And we raise the children together.
MAN: My wife is a businesswoman who is no longer shy about going out and conducting her own affairs, or going to the bank and asking for a loan, all this without needing her husband by her side. That shows progress.
HINOJOSA: The women of Rwanda have not only found their voice in politics but also in business. An astounding 41 percent of the businesses here in Rwanda are women owned and women run. We're off to meet one of them.
I make my way to Rwanda Flora, a rose farm on the outskirts of the capital city of Kigali, owned and operated by Beatrice Gakuba.
BEATRICE: Welcome to Rwanda Flora.
HINOJOSA: Thank you! Thank you!
It employs 220 people. 80% of them are women.
BEATRICE: So you made it?
HINOJOSA: I made it.
BEATRICE: Welcome. Welcome to Rwanda. Welcome to Rwanda Flora
HINOJOSA: It's beautiful.
BEATRICE: Thank you.
HINOJOSA: After spending 22 years working around the world for the United Nations, Beatrice returned to her birthplace to help in the reconstruction of her country.
And some people might say why would you leave a good life to come back to a country that people say, oh my gosh, it's a country of sadness and suffering.
BEATRICE: —it was a sense of guilt, a sense of you know to be useful, to participate.
BEATRICE: Responsibility. Maybe duty and honor maybe? I don't know. It's a nice feeling when you know that you go to sleep and so many other families have gone to sleep with some food in their stomach because of you. I think it's very rewarding, no matter how tough it is.
HINOJOSA: It's not just enough to have women in the Parliament.
BEATRICE: No, no. That's absolutely not enough. I think what is important for Rwanda, is that we need to also show the young men and women of Rwanda that private sector also, needs to have strong women. And so we balance the power of change. Cuz, if you change in the politics now, who is going to implement those ideas?
HINOJOSA: She bought an abandoned farm in 2003 and now sells an average of three tons of flowers at European auctions each week. As one of the farm's greenhouse supervisors, Pauline Nyiraneza oversees the growing of 125,000 rose plants. The job allows her and her husband to support their three children.
HINOJOSA: Hello, Pauline.
BEATRICE: She is a survivor of genocide. She was 17 when the genocide took place.
HINOJOSA: I was touched when she invited me to her home to meet her children.
He looks like you, this one.
Before you had the job at the rose farm, with Beatrice, what was your life like?
PAULINE: I hated that my life was meaningless. In Rwanda, you have to do something with your life. If you don't have a job, you can't do anything for yourself. Before I got a job, my life was so bad, I couldn't even afford to buy fabric for myself. Now, I'm able to buy clothes, buy what I need, even if it's not everything. I manage. I would like to succeed like my boss, and follow in her footsteps. I would like to grow flowers like her, and she can help me because she is very knowledgeable, and I realize that I love flowers.
HINOJOSA: Pauline's dream, unattainable years ago, is now possible—not because of a politician but thanks to her boss, a business woman.
One of the sayings that you have from your business is that "from the ashes of genocide—beauty...?" What is it, tell me?
BEATRICE: Out of the genocide it's another life, flourishing, with beautiful things to. One life is gone, another one is born. And we hoping, and we dream that Rwanda is coming up, is going to be better than what has gone. Because of the suffering. Something good and nice is gonna happen, and is happening in this country, because of that.
HINOJOSA: The suffering was unimaginable. During the genocide a gang of killers broke into the school where Pauline and hundreds of others had taken refuge.
1994, you're 17 years old and what happens to you then?
Pauline: The soldiers, and the Interahamwe caught us. They gathered us all, and made us sit in the middle of the street. That's when things started to go bad. They started...they started to shoot...shoot, shoot, shoot. As they started shooting, we all went like this. I was in the middle, and ended up lying in between people. I remember they were shooting me and I started feeling a lot of blood trickling on me. Then, they started saying, "Let's use some knives, let's use machetes." And so they started pounding. They started to stab us with machetes. Children started crying, there were screams, people were screaming all night. Then, I woke up. People were lifting me up, people were getting off of me...realizing that they were alive like me. Then...It was over. I was lucky to heal...
HINOJOSA: You never heard this story?
HINOJOSA: You just knew she was a survivor
BEATRICE: Never I had the courage to ask..
HINOJOSA: And now? What do you think of Pauline?
BEATRICE: I think she's the one who's my role model, not the other way around. Role model of strength and belief and hope.
HINOJOSA: As I leave Rwanda... I think about the hope and strength that has blossomed from the worst of circumstances. Rwanda is truly a new model for Africa and the world.
I wonder, will the next generation of women leaders in America find their way?
As for our debaters, Brooklyn spent two weeks away from home this summer honing her skills at a debate camp at Northwestern University near Chicago. She is practicing a technique called spreading to speak at rapid fire pace, getting in as many arguments in as possible.
The words fly by. At the Beacon School, the final round of the competition is about to begin.
WILL BAKER: So first can I have a hand for all of our semifinalists and all of our debaters today. If I can get a drum roll please before we announce the finalists. The finalists in the BALI Leadership Fall Tournament are: the Institute for Collaborative Education versus Frederick Douglass Academy.
HINOJOSA: Sometimes success it's less about winning than the path traveled.
SHIRA: My partner and I were a bit surprised that we lost and we were a little bit disappointed, but it was still an honor to have gotten that far.
WILL BAKER: We would like these debates to start in 15 minutes. I need to meet with each of the teams for 5 minutes to go over protocols. Everyone else head upstairs. Thank you very very much.
JAMELA: We are gathered here today to discuss the internet as a source of expanding or bridging the gap between men and women.
BROOKLYN: I will first begin by stating that there is in fact no gender gap in the internet seen in the status quo. In fact the internet is serving as a platform for women to voice their opinions.
HINOJOSA: Like Jeanne Shaheen, president Michelle Bachelet and the women I met in Rwanda, these girls are truly embracing their power. I hope in the future, they can hold onto it.
LIZ: Leadership is you stand up for what you believe when it's often not popular, when it may be very against the common will or common thought, where you do it as Bella did with heart and soul and compassion, with humor, but with real focus.
WILL BAKER: Despite having 3 judges in their first round, 3 judges in their second round, 5 judges in the semifinals and 7 judges in the finals, this team only lost 1 ballot the entire day. Your champions are the Institute for Collaborative Education, Brooklyn Penson and Rachel Siegel.
BROOKLYN: I think that people's perception of me will effect how I harness my power and I think it's mainly because you know there is a double standard for women. We have to be perfect. We have to be pretty. We have to be educated. We have to be all these things. And I just think that you can't care I know that sounds so clichéd you can't care what people think and you just have to do what you feel is gonna you know empower yourself. I'm just- I can't believe it. I really just can't- I didn't think we were gonna- like when I first came like at the beginning of the tournament I wasn't so sure about everything. I didn't know how all of my arguments were going to go. So I'm just really happy.
HINOJOSA: As the competition comes to a close in New York, the pressure builds in New Hampshire. by the end of the summer former governor Jeanne Shaheen and Senator John Sununu are still in a tough battle. I meet up with the governor in Manchester. The November election is less than three months away. What's going on with the United States that other countries like Rwanda can get it right?
SHAHEEN: Well, y'know, Rwanda, having gone through the horrible tragedy that they did, has been able to reinvent their government in a way that provides opportunities.
HINOJOSA: In the U.S, Shaheen says the opportunities have been tilted towards men.
SHAHEEN: If we look at who has controlled the money, traditionally, in this country. It has, uh, it has been men. And so, when you, when you start running for office, who are the first people you go to? You go to your friends. And often women's circle of friends are heavily women. And they often, at least historically, they have not given money in the same way that men have given money in this country.
HINOJOSA: Would you say that women in power and politics are in fact, a rising tide in this country?
SHAHEEN: Well, I think that we still have a ways to go. But its gonna happen, because women currently make up a little over 50 per cent of the population. And people in this country have been very willing to open doors, for people y'know based on all kinds of things. It's not just gender, it's um race, it's religion.
HINOJOSA: So when you look at Chile, you look at President Bachelet, you see the statistics in terms of Rwanda, and you're sitting here running for office in New Hampshire, put that all together for me.
SHAHEEN: Well, that's a reflection of the change, that we're experiencing. Um, both in the United States and around the world. And its not happening overnight. It never happens overnight. But we have more women elected governors, more women in the Senate, more women in the House, than we have, in the history of this country. And so, the change is going to continue to happen.
HINOJOSA: Jeanne Shaheen's campaign gets a boost from an unexpected source. Rock star Bonnie Raitt throws a benefit concert on her behalf.
SHAHEEN: Bonnie Raitt, we are so honored that you are here with us. Thank you very much.
HINOJOSA: It gives Shaheen, her husband and daughter Molly a chance to turn the stage over to another leading lady.
BONNIE RAITT: Are you ready for the thing called love? Don't come from me and you, it comes from up above. I ain't a porcupine take off your kid gloves. Are you ready for the thing called love?
HINOJOSA: I sensed a real optimism from all the women I met over the past few months. But it's an optimism tempered by the facts on the ground. This fall there will be winners and losers. In New Hampshire recent polls show Shaheen still holding the lead.
SHAHEEN: Thank you, I hope you'll help me in my Senate race.
SHAHEEN: Good. That's great
WOMAN: Thank you.
SHAHEEN: Nice to meet you girls.
HINOJOSA: Governor Palin's presence on the Republican ticket continues to fascinate the media....and to raise questions about women, power and politics.
In Rwanda, early election results show women making history winning a clear majority in the lower house.
In Chile, Bachelet continues to push the equal-pay initiative. Right now it's stuck in the male-dominated Senate. And here in the U.S., a lot is resting on the shoulders of the next generation.
Brooklyn is back in school and is starting to think about college and her future.
BROOKLYN: You'll hear things every day like you're just a girl or you know you do this like a girl or you do that like a girl, and it's like I am girl and I do it like a girl but I do it well.
HINOJOSA: And that's it for NOW. I'm Maria Hinojosa for David Brancaccio. We'll see you back here next week.