Magazine article Newsweek International

Argentina: Were I A Man; 'I Believe in Defending the Rights of Women, but Not under the Label of "Feminist".'

Magazine article Newsweek International

Argentina: Were I A Man; 'I Believe in Defending the Rights of Women, but Not under the Label of "Feminist".'

Article excerpt

Byline: Joseph Contreras

Argentina's Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, 53, wears a number of hats: senator, First Lady, mother of two children. She also serves as a roving ambassador for her husband, Nestor, as she did during a four-day visit to Los Angeles last month, when she opened a museum exhibition about Eva Peron and spoke with NEWSWEEK's Joseph Contreras. Excerpts:

CONTRERAS: Eva Peron was arguably the first Latin American woman to assume a dominant role in the politics of her country. Was she a role model for you?

KIRCHNER: What Eva did was much more than the participation of a woman in politics. She changed the system of power operating in Argentina during the 1940s in a way that empowered workers and women. Eva was the figure who best symbolized that change in a very conservative Argentina that had excluded the poor and denied women the vote.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

No, I consider myself feminine. What is the difference? I believe that if you recognize feminism as a political category, you're validating the notion that machismo is a political category. I believe in defending the rights of women and of minorities, but not under the label of being a feminist.

But your commitment to women's rights does not translate into support for legalizing abortion. Why not?

[Partly] because I'm Roman Catholic, but also because of profound convictions. It's true that abortion is an issue that must be addressed in society, but it is not yet on the [political agenda] of Argentina as a topic for debate. …

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