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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - The first time Karla Hernandez ran for office in El Salvador, she kept seeing a male candidate from her party in expensive television adverts, while she scraped by on a shoestring - relying on volunteers to hand out flyers and knock on doors.

Hernandez was elected anyway, but her experiences reflect the difficulties female candidates face in securing campaign finance - limiting their chances of election despite a 2013 gender quota law aimed at boosting their numbers in Congress.

“It was extremely difficult and I was at a disadvantage,” said Hernandez, who is serving her second term as . . .

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