Pinochet’s Great-Niece Resigns From Women’s Ministry Role

After only a month on the job, Pinochet’s great-niece Macarena Santelices resigned as Chile’s Women and Gender minister. This after a series of decisions made by the department created controversy and justified the backlash against Santelices already in place by female activists when she took the job.

She oversaw the inappropriate hiring of a former tabloid reporter to head the ministry’s research division and released an anti-domestic violence public service campaign that was criticized for being overly sympathetic to abusers. 

Activists have been demanding her resignation since it was announced she would be heading the ministry. Santelices considers herself a feminist but has criticized Chile’s feminist groups for “seeking chaos and destruction.” Feminists take note of an interview in 2016 where Santelices now infamously spoke of her great-uncle’s regime as having a “good side,” even though thousands of women were tortured and raped during his dictatorship.

Santelices is now replaced with another unsavory female politician Monica Zalaquett, a former deputy who is against abortions. Women’s activists refuse to acknowledge her and consider themselves without a minister for the department.

The Realist Woman’s take:

Chile can’t get this right if they tried, at least not while their current rightwing President Sebastian Pinera in charge. It sounds easy enough. Hire a woman who works and fights for women’s rights to head the women’s department.

I commend the feminists and female activists who are making their voices heard and who are relentless in their fight for appropriate and common sense representation. It seems like a no-brainer to me but when there’s a rightwing anything in the highest political offices, women can count on being let down.

woman wearing denim jacket

She’d only been in her role for a month