Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff Fights for Women's Rights
Bulgaria-descended Dilma Rousseff prefers to be referred to as Brazil's "female president", instead of just "president".
Rousseff said Tuesday on the popular TV program "Mais Voce" that she has opened the way for every girl in the country who dreams of being a president. The interview was part of Rousseff's campaign to celebrate March as Women's Month, Fox News reported.
"What is most important about my being president is that now all girls can aspire be president and it will be seen as completely normal in Brazil that a woman becomes president," she said, adding that she prefers to be referred to as a "female president".
She blamed the macho mentality for spreading an image of her as a "tough" woman.
"Did you ever see a man who became leader of the country being called "tough"? Women are expected to be fragile, at least the image people have is that women are fragile and when a woman takes a position of leadership, or authority, she's seen as stepping outside her proper role," Rousseff said.
For the first time since she took the office in January, she talked about her battle with cancer in 2009. On the eve of launching her electoral campaign, she was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, from which she has recovered.
"I became a different person. I am stronger now," Roussef said.
She acknowledged as a negative side of being a president the fact that she is not able to walk down the street as before, to talk to people and get their take on things.
Rousseff also said that since poverty in Brazil is worst among women and children, she will adapt government programs for combating destitution to make them favor women more, especially single parents.
"I asked them to employ more women, but there is still a tendency to employ men. But I will not give up," she said.
She also commented on the presence of women in government positions and said she would like to have more female ministers, but had to take the coalitions into consideration.
At present, nine out of 37 ministers in Rousseff's cabinet are women – the highest proportion ever registered in the country.