Beatriz Argimón visited the Jackson School for a conversation on women in leadership.
On February 16, the Jackson School of Global Affairs hosted a conversation with Beatriz Argimón, the vice president of Uruguay, which was moderated by Jessica Faieta, Jackson Senior Fellow and the former Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Colombia.
The event, “Women in Leadership,” was co-sponsored by the Yale MacMillan Center’s Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies.
Argimón is the first woman to occupy the office of vice president in her country and one of the first to hold high office in South America.
Following a brief introduction by Jackson School dean Jim Levinsohn, Argimón gave prepared remarks in Spanish, with simultaneous translation by Martin Inthamoussú, a 2022 World Fellow and fellow Uruguayan.
In her teens, Argimón joined an activist movement to restore democracy in Uruguay following a decade-long military dictatorship in the 1970s and 80s. The country later became a model for its efforts to reduce poverty and inequality. Today, it continues to have a much lower poverty rate than its neighbors (5% versus 30% in the region).
Argimón also highlighted the country’s “recipe” for maintaining a strong, stable democracy and judicial system: dialogue between political parties and high participation from voters.
From her earliest days, Argimón knew her social activism would lead her to a career in politics, she said. As a mother and later a grandmother, the rights of women and children were always a top priority for her—something that helped her stand out from her peers who focused more on economic issues. Argimón credits her success as a lawmaker to her ability to build a coalition of women from both chambers who shared her vision for the country.
While she helped to craft important legislation on gender-based violence, health care, and minority representation for women, Argimón sees her legacy in broader terms.
“My role is to open up spaces for the new generation,” she said.
Following her remarks, Argimón engaged in a Q&A with Faieta and took audience questions on a range of topics, including the challenges of running for office in the age of social media and her advice for younger women embarking on a similar career path.
“I learned that in politics, the most important thing is to be authentic,” Argimón told the students.