Can laws, policies, and agencies that are designed to help women achieve equality with men accommodate differences among women themselves? In Pobladoras, Indígenas, and the State, Patricia Richards examines how Chilean state policy shapes the promotion of women’s interests but at the same time limits the advancement of different classes and racial-ethnic groups in various ways.
Chile has made a public commitment to equality between women and men through the creation of a National Women’s Service, SERNAM. Yet, indigenous Mapuche women and working-class pobladora activists assert that they have been excluded from programs implemented by SERNAM. Decisions about what constitutes "women’s interests" are usually made by middle class, educated, lighter-skinned women, and the priorities and concerns of poor, working-class, and indigenous women have not come to the fore.
Through critical analysis of the role of the state, the diversity of women’s movements, and the social and political position of indigenous peoples in Latin America, Richards provides an illuminating discussion of the ways in which the state defines women’s interests and constructs women’s citizenship. This book makes important contributions to feminist studies, theories of citizenship, and studies of the intersections of class, gender, and race.