Women and Politics in Latin America

Sample Term Paper

Words 1,700

In Latin American, women have actively organized in response to political repression and economic instability. Many urban popular movements, often with a large majority of women members and aided by the church, have implemented collective survival strategies in the face of deep recession. Communal kitchens and artisan workshops were set up and campaign fought for the provision of better facilities for their neighborhood from the state either locally or nationally, for example in Peru, Chile, and Brazil(Coldeira, 1990).  Where political activity was severely curtailed, for example in Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship, and many activists were either killed, imprisoned or in exile, political parties were kept going underground through the efforts of women members who were still at liberty.  Women’s activist organizations too, began by operating outside the conventional political arena, and as Vargas argues in the case of Peru were made up, in part, of women who had been active on the left and had become disillusioned with its lack of attention to gender issues.

Nikki Craske (1999) finds a key aspect of women’s political participation in the frequent use of motherhood as a mobilizing point. Be it in human rights groups, neighborhood organizations, revolutionary movements, or trade unions, Latin American women frequently see their activism as rooted in their roles as mothers, those responsible for social reproduction, Demands based on motherhood are also likely to attract the attention of governments and politicians, as the role “has a publicly recognized legitimacy” (Craske, 1999, 196).

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