Chile president: No such thing as a superwoman

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet meets the women and youth of the Philippines in a forum in Miriam College on Tuesday, November 17.

Chile's first female president inspires and amuses young Filipinas with her experience as Latin America's first woman defense miniser, a former political prisoner, and a single mother.

Ayee Macaraig reports.- 

MICHELLE BACHELET, PRESIDENT, CHILE: You’re surprised I was the first female defense minister in my country. I’m not proud. It shows how bad we were!

She's one of 21 world leaders talking business at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC summit in Manila.

But on Tuesday, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet turns personal as she meets Filipino youth and women.

Bachelet takes the time out of her tight schedule to attend a women's forum in Miriam College the first time a foreign head of state visits the oldest women's college in the Philippines

Chile's first female president commends the Philippines for topping global surveys on gender equality, a cause she has been pushing for in the international community. 

MICHELLE BACHELET, PRESIDENT, CHILE: I was director of UN Women. We discuss on peace and security. I remember talking to women who said it's not enough for women to sit on the table. They said: I want to decide the size and shape of table I'm sitting at. We must be present.

Bachelet says her country is trying to promote women's empowerment by requiring political parties to have at least 40% female candidates for parliament. 

MICHELLE BACHELET, PRESIDENT, CHILE: But we know laws can be fooled. You can put women candidates in places where they can't be elected. I was invited to a municipality where my party had 2% of the votes. I went there and I had 2%. When I came back to that place. I told them, you see what you lost?!

Students are more curious about her personal life.

They ask the agnostic leader of a Catholic majority country what advice she has on love.

MICHELLE BACHELET, PRESIDENT, CHILE: *Sigh* I’m not sure I’m the best model coz I’m a single mother now! My 1st advice is in any field, not just politics, economics, etc, you have to understand: no such thing as a superwoman. JC The important thing is don't try to be a superwoman. That will only bring frustration. Second: prepare yourself, study, develop relationships with others. Be assertive but listen to other people. 

Bachelet made history as the first Chilean president to be elected twice since 1932.

It's a feat for a woman who was tortured and exiled under the Pinochet dictatorship.

Bachelet wants more women to join government.

To her, it's not just a job but also her answer to the question: what makes you happy.

Will APEC see more women leaders like Bachelet?

She tells young students they too can rise to the top of the political ladder.

It takes hard work, firm determination and refreshing honesty in the still-male dominated world of global politics.

Ayee Macaraig, Rappler, Manila.