Q&A with Heather Arnet, Director of Madame Presidenta

By Political Parity on July 30, 2014

More than fifty women have run unsuccessfully for the U.S. presidency, yet across the globe, nearly 1 in 4 countries has elected a female head of state or government. Why not U.S.?

In 2013, Heather Arnet, CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation, set out to answer this question. She traveled to Brazil—an emerging economic leader that had recently elected its first female president—to explore how, in the span of a single generation, a woman was propelled into the Presidential palace. Arnet interviewed women from all walks of life, capturing their stories and reflections on women’s changing political and economic roles in Brazil’s global ascendance. These narratives compose Madame Presidenta: Why Not the U.S.? – Vamos Meninas! (Let’s Go Girls! in Portuguese), a documentary that premiered on June 10 at the Paley Center in NYC, co-sponsored by Political Parity.

In the podcast above, Parity’s Nadia Farjood speaks with Arnet about Madame Presidenta, the connection between Constitutional change and women’s political leadership, and what the United States can learn from Brazil’s example. Arnet explains why women are the antidote to hyper-partisan gridlock, and shares what makes her hopeful for the future of women in politics. Vamos, meninas!

“We need every single girl in the country to think of her place as being there in the House of Representatives, in the White House or the State House.” – Heather Arnet