Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

(This is the second of a series of blog posts I’m writing about my travels around the globe to meet Vital Voices leaders. Follow me on Twitter with my hashtag, #VVLeadershipJourney.)

Soon after the trade fair, I made my way to Mexico City, where it was so inspiring to reunite with network members as we brought together leaders of our 11 thriving regional chapters for the first time to look at challenges and consider opportunities. I’ve always felt that the passion of our network members from Latin America and the Caribbean is contagious, and their energy is invigorating.

On their own initiative, alumnae of our programs from the region have returned home to start chapters and mentoring walks, and share all that they’ve learned with their home communities. It was exciting to come together for those few days to share successes and plan for an even more ambitious future. We started off with the launch of our Latin America and the Caribbean Businesswomen’s Network. Read all about the launch, view photos, and listen to a radio interview I had just before the launch with commentator Carlos Mota.

I sat down with Claudia de Luna Silva, president of Vital Voices Brazil (Elas por Elas: Vozes e AĢ¤Ģµes das Mulheres), whom I hadn’t seen since 2003, when I attended a training program in SaĢµ Paolo where we were expecting 60 women to join us – Claudia showed up with 800.

Here are a few things Claudia shared with me about the status of women’s progress in Brazil and the work she and her chapter are taking on:

Human Rights: 

  • There was no Human Rights legislation in Brazil until Vital Voices’ advocacy efforts. Human Rights Legislation passed as a result of VV Brasil advocacy, convening 50 other NGOs in 2003.

Political Participation:

  • VV Brazil has trained 15,000 women in political advocacy public leadership programs.   
  • The first Afro-Brazillian woman elected as councillor to the Sao Paulo municipal government was trained by VV Brazil.
  • President Dilma Rousseff is providing new avenues for women to participate in public life.
  • After a decade of work, the fruits of considerable labor are seeing results. However, the enduring challenge remains: out of a total of 540 members of Parliament, only 10 percent are women.

There’s a great deal of work ahead, and we’ll be supporting Claudia and her team along the way.

Continue following me on Twitter as I prepare for my next trip overseas, and keep up with Vital Voices through our RSS, Twitter and Facebook


Alyse Nelson, President & CEO of Vital Voices, on-air with FOROtv in Mexico, speaking about the launch of the new Businesswomen’s Network. 


Cameras gathered at the press conference announcing the BWN launch.