Power to Empower: Violeta Bermúdez Laying the Groundwork for Equality
December 2020 – Violeta Bermúdez is a lawyer, diplomat, and constitutional expert known affectionately as the “RBG of Peru.” Throughout her career, she has worked in multiple different areas of governance, ranging from important positions within the Peruvian government to working with NGOs focusing on good governance, human rights and advancing gender equality. She currently serves as the fifth woman Prime Minister of Peru.
As part of our Power to Empower podcast series, Violeta spoke with Vital Voices President and CEO Alyse Nelson about her career and her drive to create more equitable and just spaces for all individuals to thrive and succeed.
In their insightful conversation, Alyse and Violeta discuss the many ways Violeta has defined her career by pursuing a goal of achieving concrete and collaborative change. Throughout her time as the interim Prime Minister of Peru, she has focused on identifying key issues in need of reform and is working to build diverse coalitions dedicated to delivering solutions based on democratic ideals. Violeta also talked about the benefits of being the fifth, rather than the first, woman prime minister. Largely bypassing the common trope that plagues women in the position of being “first” – that they are held up against the men previously occupying the role and expected to be perfect in comparison to them – Violeta discusses how she has been able to advocate for a gender-balanced cabinet and how she empowers women within the government to create and defend change within democracy.
Throughout their conversation, the themes of representation and empowerment is clear. Violeta emphasizes how historical circumstances that have excluded women from the workplace have influenced her passion for creating successful and collaborative gender-inclusive spaces. With increased women-led activism in political spaces, Violeta explains, “women have demonstrated we have the experience and power to make some changes.”
With each of her projects and accomplishments, Violeta continues to use her position and influence to create space for other women to succeed in initiating and maintaining positive change. Staying true to the title of the “RBG of Peru,” she leaves us with these wise words: “If I have finished my work in life… I would like to transfer the administration with dialogue on the basis of democracy.”
Listen to her episode here:
This podcast series is inspired by the Vital Voices: 100 Women Using their Power to Empower – edited by Alyse Nelson with artwork by Gayle Kabaker, foreword by Amanda Gorman and published by Assouline.
This post was written by Shreya Bandyopadhyay.