Former Fulbright-Hays fellow in Chile wins prestigious 2017 Best Dissertation Award


Catherine Reyes-Housholder , PhD  from Cornell University and Fulbright-Hays fellow in Chile and Brasil, won the 2017 Best Dissertation Award from the American Political Science Association for her research on female presidents in Latin America.

She received her doctorate degree last from Cornell´s government department and has recently been credited with the 2017  Best Dissertation Award from the American Political Science Association’s Women and Politics section, for her comparative study titled:  “Presidentas, Power and Pro-Women Change.”
“Reyes-Housholder conducted her fieldwork in Brazil and Chile in 2015 with the support of a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowship.  She had also previously conducted research in Uruguay as a Fulbright undergraduate fellow.
The dissertation looks at how female presidents in Latin America have leveraged their power to advance women’s issues despite the region’s deep gender inequalities.

Reyes-Housholder first met one of her research subjects, former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, when she came to Cornell as a Bartels World Affairs Fellow in 2012. She uses “constituent theory” to compare Bachelet with former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, concluding that women presidents are most effective at promoting women’s rights if they create a core constituency of women voters and network with “elite feminists” and other female politicians.
At her website she wrote: “ Welcome to my web site! I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies (COES) in Santiago, Chile.  I research the presidency and gender with a regional focus on Latin America, and I use historical, statistical and experimental methods. My dissertation “Presidentas, Power and Pro-Women Change” won the 2017 Best Dissertation Award: APSA Women and Politics section.  My work has been published or forthcoming in Comparative Politics, Latin American Politics and Society and Politics, Groups and Identities as well as in three edited volumes. I summarize parts of my research agenda in an essay for the Comparative Politics Spring 2017 newsletter

I completed fieldwork in Brazil and Chile in 2015 thanks to a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.     I also conducted research in Uruguay as a Fulbright undergraduate felow in 2008. I recently was interviewed live on a national program in Colombia about female presidents in Latin Americ.