Gender discrimination pervades nearly all legal institutions and practices in Latin America. The deeper question is how this shapes broader relations of power. By examining the relationship between law and gender as it manifests itself in the Mexican legal system, the thirteen essays in this volume show how law is produced by, but also perpetuates, unequal power relations. At the same time, however, authors show how law is often malleable and can provide spaces for negotiation and redress. The contributors (including political scientists, sociologists, geographers, anthropologists, and economists) explore these issues-not only in courts, police stations, and prisons, but also in rural organizations, indigenous communities, and families.
By bringing new interdisciplinary perspectives to issues such as the quality of citizenship and the rule of law in present-day Mexico, this book raises important issues for research on the relationship between law and gender more widely.
The expansion of married women’s property rights was a main achievement of the first wave of feminism in Latin America. As Carmen Diana Deeere and Magdalena Leon reveal, however, the disjuncture between rights and actual ownership remains vast. This is particularly true in rural areas, where the distribution of land between men and women is highly unequal. In their pioneering, twelve-country comparative study, the authors argue that property ownership is directly related to women’s bargaining power within the household and community, point out changes resulting from recent gender-progressive legislation, and identify additional areas for future reform, including inheritance rights of wives.