Latin American women’s movements played important roles in the democratic transitions in South America during the 1980s and in Central America during the 1990s. However, very little has been written on what has become of these movements and their agendas since the return to democracy. This timely collection examines how women’s movements have responded to the dramatic political, economic, and social changes of the last twenty years. In these essays, leading scholar-activists focus on the various strategies women’s movements have adopted and assess their successes and failures.
The book is organized around three broad topics. The first, women’s access to political power at the national level, is addressed by essays on the election of Michelle Bachelet in Chile, gender quotas in Argentina and Brazil, and the responses of the women’s movement to the “Bolivarian revolution” in Venezuela. The second topic, the use of legal strategies, is taken up in essays on women’s rights across the board in Argentina, violence against women in Brazil, and gender in the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Peru. Finally, the international impact of Latin American feminists is explored through an account of their participation in the World Social Forum, an assessment of a Chilean-led project carried out by women’s organizations in several countries to hold governments to the promises they made at international conferences in Cairo and Beijing, and an account of cross-border organizing to address femicides and domestic abuse in the Juárez-El Paso border region. Jane S. Jaquette provides the historical and political context of women’s movement activism in her introduction, and concludes the volume by engaging contemporary debates about feminism, civil society, and democracy.
Contributors. Jutta Borner, Mariana Caminotti, Alina Donoso, Gioconda Espina, Jane S. Jaquette, Beatriz Kohen, Julissa Mantilla Falcón, Jutta Marx, Gabriela L. Montoya, Flávia Piovesan, Marcela Ríos Tobar, Kathleen Staudt, Teresa Valdés, Virginia Vargas