The decision of Irina Karamanospartner of the elected president of Chile, Gabriel Boricto assume as first lady generated differences in the chilean feminist movementfrom where she was criticized for accepting an anachronistic position but also supported by her intention to reformulate it “from within”.
(Read here: Gabriel Boric appoints his new cabinet in Chile dominated by women)
The announcement of the 32-year-old social scientist that she would perform that function stirred the waters between different feminist groups.
(Also: Gabriel Boric: the challenges of the young president of Chile)
A sector was disappointed that she accepted an “anachronistic” position, which is not reached on her own merits but by maintaining a “sexual-affective” relationship with the president, but she was also applauded for her intention to give the position a “more feminist” vision “. But far from marking a divide, the differences enriched the debate, they said.
“We have different ways of looking at feminism and of having a discussion about the role of women in politics and that does not mean a fracture, because feminism is not one,” Daniela Osorio, spokeswoman for the Feminist Coordinator, told AFP. 8M, which brings together different organizations.
The decision to assume as first lady was in question after Boric himself was in favor of abolishing the position: “There can be no positions in the State that have to do with or are related to the relationship of the president or to anyone,” he said on campaign.
The charge is not regulated in Chile. Traditionally, he does not receive remuneration, but manages the millionaire budget of seven social organizations from the Sociocultural Directorate of the Presidency of the Republic, which has an office in the Presidential Palace of La Moneda.
Abolish or reformulate the position of first lady
Boric’s partner since 2019, Karamanos announced that he would take office “with the commitment to reformulate it” and give it a feminist vision, focusing his work on issues such as transsexuals or migrant children.
“I do not doubt her abilities, what I question is that she continue as is with a deeply macho position in which women are relegated to a secondary role, which is assumed by being paired with the President of the Republic “, Priscila González, a member of the Chilean Network against Violence against Women, told AFP.
It seems to us that this role is super problematic, which is determined by a sexual-affective or family relationship, in this case because it is the president’s partner.
Once she takes office as first lady, she said, she will seek to adapt the position “to the times, give it a different and more contemporary twist.” “How important that Irina Karamanos reformulate the position. That is important. To be able to transform spaces and provide them with a feminist vision,” celebrates Érika Montecinos, journalist and founder of the Lesbian Group Breaking the Silence.
Karamanos also said that she will try to end the vision of “charity” associated with the role of first lady, reduce the staff that will work with her and adjust salaries downwards. “Our analysis has nothing to do with the very figure of Irina (…) For us, the correct thing would have been to end the position,” Osorio estimates.
“It seems to us that this role is super problematic, which is determined by a sex-affective or family relationship, in this case because it is the president’s partner,” he added.
Karamanos has been designated as a concubine
But Karamanos has also been singled out for the fact that she is not married to Boric. “Can you imagine the scandal if a right-wing president made his girlfriend (girlfriend) first lady, with public resources at his disposal,” criticized analyst Max Colodro.
Former presidential candidate and former parliamentarian Tomás Jocelyn-Holt treated her as a concubine. “How do you request an audience with the president’s concubine, by lobbying law?” He questioned on his Twitter account, generating a barrage of criticism.
Boric, meanwhile, came out to defend his partner, who until now had maintained a very low public figure. “His intention to modernize and make the position transparent reflects the work that we have been doing collectively: we have to make changes responsibly and from within,” said the president-elect.
Who is Irina Karamanos?
Of Greek and German descent, Karamanos, 32, studied Anthropology and Communication Sciences at the University of Heidelberg, in Germany, and is the national head of the party’s Feminist Front, Social Convergence, which is part of the Broad Front, which also integrates Boric. She there she has recently had to keep calm, after the reappearance of a complaint of harassment against the presidential candidate, which dates back to 2012.
The Chilean media assure that the social scientist is Boric’s political adviser and confidant, and that she was one of those in charge of collecting the 34,000 signatures they needed to register the coalition in the electoral ring.
“With Gabriel we are part of the same political project, we share these convictions and concrete hopes of contributing to building an alternative society. That is the horizon and the main responsibility today,” Karamanos told the Chilean newspaper ‘La Tercera’.
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