Female presidents and prime ministers are currently serving in 18 different countries. Meanwhile, the United States has never had a female president, and is ranked 69th worldwide in women’s representation in national legislatures or parliaments.
What are other countries doing that America isn’t?
This question will be explored this Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater, when Women and Girls Foundation CEO Heather Arnet premieres her documentary, Madame Presidenta: Why Not U.S.?.
The film details Arnet’s travels abroad to examine the increased number of women in politics around the world. She spent most of her time with Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s 36th president.
“It’s not just about a singular woman,” Arnet said. “It’s really about how all of these issues – voting access, paid maternity leave, gender equity when we talk about wages and corporate leadership – we see in these other countries that those are issues taken very seriously by those democracies.”
Arnet’s documentary demonstrates the similarities among countries that have elected woman leaders.
One similarity can be found in the countries’ constitutions.
“All of them are countries whose constitutions are incredibly new,” Arnet said. “Every single one of those countries has a constitution written since World War 2.”
Arnet said the goal of the film is not to dwell on why a female leader has not been elected in America, but why it has been possible in so many other places first. She also wants to inspire women to reverse this trend.
“What I hope American women will be inspired by is that we need to make sure we are part of our history,” Arnet said.
Tickets to the premiere are $50. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Arnet.