Ertha Pascal-Trouillot

Despite the changing gender roles and the growing feminist movement, female presidents or heads of state are quite rare in Haiti. One of these very few powerful women in history is former Haitian president Ertha Pascal-Trouillot. Politics has always been said to be meant for males as power and control are often associated with being a man. But as time went by, women began competing with this notion and have been made leaders and politicians along with men.


Pascal-Trouillot was born in a suburb of Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince in 1943. Her father was an iron worker while her mother was a seamstress and was the ninth child of their ten children. The future president acquired a law degree from the prestigious École de Droit des Gonaives and was a judge for federal courts for more than ten years. She then became the first woman justice of the country's Supreme Court. And in 1990, Pascal-Trouillot was proclaimed as Haiti's temporary president after the successful revolt against former president Prosper Avril which put him out of office.

Since her mission was to switch the government into democracy, she was able to supervise Haiti's first-ever true free elections. Her presidency was cut short after a year when Jean-Bertrand Aristide took over. Ertha Pascal-Trouillot was charged by Aristide because of her supposed involvement in an attempted coup d'état, but was released shortly with the help of U.S. intervention.

After her take on Haitian politics, Ertha Pascal-Trouillot became an author of books on history, law, and women. She is now working on a Biographical Encyclopedia on the country.

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Read more: jean-bertrand aristide, Election, Coup D'Etat, Haitian President, Woman, Supreme Court, Ertha Pascal-Trouillot, Feminist Movement, 1943, Ecole de Droit des Gonaives, Judge, Court, 1990, Prosper Avril, president

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