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Gender, quota laws, and the struggles of women's social movements in Latin America


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Gender, quota laws, and the struggles of women's social movements in Latin America
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Frazier, Merav
University of South Florida
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Political participation
Electoral systems
Dissertations, Academic -- Political Science -- Masters -- USF   ( lcsh )
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ABSTRACT: Assuming gender neutrality in comparative analysis, i.e. not including either explicit or implicit references to a particular gender or sex, runs the risk of camouflaging the unequal distribution of political power, economic influence, and political access for men and women. Unfortunately, in assuming such neutrality, one is blinded to the inherent flaws of political systems, the inequalities they create, and their lack of consideration of gender and women's rights. To counteract this inequality between the sexes, women's social movements are fighting to create gender awareness and establish formal policies that place them at the same level as their male counterparts, and feminist ideals are slowly becoming more prominent. As in other regions, in Latin America, quota laws have been established as affirmative action-type mechanisms that are meant to create a balance in view of the inequalities women face in ascending to political office.My study focuses on whether or not quota laws have increased women's presence in Latin American political legislatures and if they have met the intended objectives by the women's social movements that advocated for them. My results indicate that quota laws have not worked in every Latin American country to dramatically increase women's presence in politics. The literature also suggests that quota laws have not entirely been able to produce the desired outcomes as proposed by women's social movements in the region. I also address the question of what has made quota laws successful in some countries, yet not in others. My research indicates that the effectiveness of quota laws depends on how they are drafted and implemented, that is if institutions have effectively been altered and if the government is taking specific measures to ensure that the law is being enforced.Since women have not been able to rely on the good faith of the political parties to determine their entry to positions of public authority, traditional procedures for candidate selection have been in need of alteration. I conclude that if quota laws are not customized to a country's electoral system and applied meticulously by political parties, they will hardly produce any results for women.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
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Gender, Quota Laws, and the St ruggles of Women’s Social Movements in Latin America by Merav Frazier A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Government and International Affairs College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Bernd Reiter, Ph.D. Harry E. Vanden, Ph.D. Cheryl Hall, Ph.D. Date of Approval: February 15, 2008 Keywords: Feminism, Political Participati on, Electoral Systems, Argentina, Brazil Copyright 2008, Merav Frazier


Dedication This thesis is dedicated to my cousin Adi Shiran (1984 – 2002) in memory of her passion for life, to my family who always pushed me to the edge without ever pushing me off, and to my husband Derek for all his love and support throughout the process of writing this.


Acknowledgments Thinking of the people who have made this thesis possible means thinking of all those who have pushed me to reach all of my potential. My biggest debt of gratitude goes to my thesis chair Dr. Bernd Reiter, because without his patience and encouragement, this definitely would not have been written. He ha s helped me to articulate my ideas and to establish an analytical framework for my re search; not to mention listened to all my complaints and worries. Thanks is also due to my committee members. Although he scared me on my first day as a graduate student, I owe a lot of gratitude to Dr. Harry Vanden for always making sure I was at the top my of game. Thank you also to Dr. Cheryl Hall for her immensely valuable commen ts and assistance. I’m grateful for all my friends at the Political Science department at the University of South Florida, who always made class just a little more fun. Lastly, tha nk you to my family and friends, whose love and support has provided me with the motivatio n to stay focused even when I couldn’t bear it anymore.


i Table of Contents List of Tables iii Abstract iv Introduction 1 Chapter 1: The Development of Feminism and Gender Analysis 7 Feminism and Feminist Theory 7 Liberal Feminism 9 Radical Feminism 10 Socialist Feminism 11 “Waves” of Feminism 11 The First Wave 12 The Second Wave 12 The Third Wave 14 Gender Analysis 14 Feminism in Latin America 16 Conclusion 19 Chapter 2: Women’s Social M ovements in Latin America 20 The Development of the Feminist/Women’s Movements: Socialism, Revolutions and the Breakdown of Authoritarian Regimes. 22 Coalitions 29 Legal Reform 32 Combating Domestic Violence 33 Sexual and Reproductive Rights 35 Indigenous Wome n’s Rights 37 Domestic Servants 40 Conclusion 43 Chapter 3: Quota Laws 45 Quota Laws Defined 47 Successful vs. Unsuccessful Quota Laws 50 Electoral Systems: Majoritarian vs. Proportional Representation 52 Majoritarian Electoral Systems 53 Proportional Representation Electoral Systems 54 Placement Mandates 57 District Magnitude 58 Party Compliance 59 Support for and Criticisms of Quota Laws 60


ii Conclusion 62 Chapter 4: Case Studies of Q uota Laws in Latin America 64 Argentina 66 Feminism and Women’s Movements 67 Government, Politics, and Implementation of Quota Laws 69 Results of Quota Law 70 Brazil 73 Feminism and Women’s Movements 74 Government, Politics, and Implementation of Quota Laws 77 Results of Quota Laws 80 Other Examples from Latin America 83 Ecuador 83 Paraguay 85 Conclusion 87 Conclusion 90 Bibliography 95


iii List of Tables Table 1.1 Trends in Women’s Political Par ticipation in Latin America (By Percentage) 44 Table 1.2 Women’s Political Particip ation in Latin America (Before and After Quotas) 49 Table 1.3 Applications of Q uota Laws in Latin America 50 Table 1.4 Proportion of Seats Held by Women in Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies; Period 1983-2007 69 Table 1.5 Proportion of Seats Held by Women in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies; Period 1990, 1997-2007 81 Table 1.6 Proportion of Seats Held by Women in Ecuador’s National Parliament; Period 1990, 1997-2007 84 Table 1.7 Proportion of Seats Held by Women in Paraguay’s Chamber of Deputies; Period 1990, 1997-2007 87


iv Gender, Quota Laws, and the St ruggles of Women’s Social Movements in Latin America Merav Frazier ABSTRACT Assuming gender neutrality in comparative analysis, i.e. not including either explicit or implicit references to a particular gender or sex, runs the risk of camouflaging the unequal distribution of political power, ec onomic influence, and political access for men and women. Unfortunately, in assuming su ch neutrality, one is blinded to the inherent flaws of political systems, the inequalities they create, and their lack of consideration of gender and women’s rights. To counteract this inequality between the sexes, women’s social movements are fighting to create gender awareness and establish formal policies that place them at the same le vel as their male counterparts, and feminist ideals are slowly becoming more prominent. As in other regions, in Latin America, quota laws have been established as affirmative action-type mechanisms that are meant to create a balance in view of the inequalities women face in ascending to political office. My study focuses on whether or not quota laws have increased women's presence in Latin American political legislatures and if they have met the inte nded objectives by the women's social movements that advocated fo r them. My results i ndicate that quota laws have not worked in every Latin American country to dramatically increase women’s presence in politics. The literature also sugge sts that quota laws have not entirely been able to produce the desired outcomes as pr oposed by women’s social movements in the region. I also address the question of what has made quota laws successful in some


v countries, yet not in others. My research in dicates that the effec tiveness of quota laws depends on how they are drafted and implemented, that is if instituti ons have effectively been altered and if the government is taking specific measures to ensure that the law is being enforced. Since women have not been ab le to rely on the good fa ith of the political parties to determine their entry to positions of public authority, traditional procedures for candidate selection have been in need of alteration. I conclu de that if quota laws are not customized to a country’s electoral system and applied meticulously by political parties, they will hardly produce any results for women.


1 Introduction In most societies there is a tremendous difference between the roles of women and men. Gender analysis highlights these diffe rent roles and learned behavior of men and women based on gender attributes. It focuses on understanding and documenting the variations in gender roles, activities, needs, and o pportunities in a given context. However, differences between the genders ar e often ignored in political, social, and economic research; women’s roles are not cons idered and men are set to be the main aspect of theories. Gender an alysis thus takes into account women's roles in production, reproduction, political participation, and ot her activities. While traditional theories generate a domination of men over women through their lack of gender sensitivity,“Feminism allows for a look at gender relations as an aspect of a power relationship, and it challenges traditional ways of studying th e political by focusing on patriarchy and the domination of women by men.” (Chilcot e 1981, 162) Feminism shifts the study of International Relations away from a singular focus on inter-state relations toward a comprehensive analysis of tran snational actors and structures and their transformations in global politics. Feminist perspectives reveal that, in ma ny instances, the sites of global power and transformation are not just the domain of po litical and economic elite s; such sites also exist in the invisible, unde rappreciated nooks and crannies of societies. Many feminist authors have noted that, with regards to th e international human rights movement and other advances towards gender equality, the con cept of gender was a pproached with more


2 of a negative connotation as opposed to focusing on the positive rights. There was a mainstream spotlight on the discrimination against women without questioning women’s marginalization within society. “Women’s movements have emphasized the need to radicalize and popularize rights demands, while th ey have stressed the indivisibility of rights and the need for political guarantees to protect and advance those rights.” (Craske and Molyneux 2002, 25) In Latin America, this gender difference is especially prevalent, and the women’s movements in the region have taken a prom inent role in reshaping the way gender is looked at and considered when it comes to inner-state and international relations. Latin American women’s movements have dire cted their concentr ation to securing enhancements in women’s legal and political status through an incorporation of force from below and working in a joint venture wi th the state. However, as the case studies will illustrate, though these struggles for ri ghts have a potential for achieving greater gender equality, the efforts of the women’ s movements exemplify the imperative restrictions and difficulties of rights-based work. (ibid, 3) Over the past 15 years, as a means of addressing gender inequa lities in specific areas, such as political representation and participation in politi cal parties, several countries have passed laws which regulate a fixed percentage of legislative seats to women. These laws are a product of the wome n’s movement’s demands for the national and international level of government to take action in increasing women’s presence in political legislatures. More th an 40 countries have reformed their constitutions or passed new electoral laws requiring that women co mprise certain percentages of aspirants, candidates, or legislative seats, while in many other countries, political parties have


3 adopted quotas on their own. These laws have been passed in twelve Latin American countries, including: Argentina, Bolivia, Br azil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paragua y, Peru and Venezuela. This phenomenon raises both normative and empirical questi ons, ranging from whethe r gender quotas are appropriate to why countries adopt them and how effective they have been. Advocates of the quota laws make three claims: normative, consequentialist, and symbolic. The normative claim suggests that quotas are the most efficient means of attaining fairness and equality with regards to the presence of wo men in decision-making processes that affect society at large. The consequentialist claim is that by instating quota laws, more women will be in power, thus ther e will be new items on the political agenda that will better accommodate the concerns of women. The third claim proposes that quotas inform the public about gender equal ity and exhibit societ y’s obligation to a democracy based on inclusiveness. (Htun and Jones in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 3536) While the data does show that women have made progress in increasing their political participation due to the quota laws, the li terature also indicates that many of the formidable barriers to women playing a more prominent role in public decision making and administration still exist, thus negating the consequentialist claim. In addition, the political system’s enforcements of these laws cannot change social practice, at least not quickly. As Habermas (1998) has argued, “the de facto validity of legal norms is determined by the degree to which such norms are acted on or implanted, and thus by the extent to which one can actually expect th e addresses to accept them.” Meaning, law derives its validity from the consent of the governed. While quota laws may inform the public about gender equality, as the symbolic claim suggests, the acceptance of this


4 information and the willingness to embrace it, may not come so easily due to the political culture of the society. Through a review of the current literatu re on quota laws, arguments that both support and refute the successfulness of th e laws on creating gender equality in Latin America, I will measure their overall level of successfulness in achieving the intended goals of women’s social movements in the re gion. My two main arguments are: (1) under certain conditions (closed party list in a PR electoral system, placement mandates, moderate to large sized district magnit ude, good faith party compliance, penalties associated with any failure to comply with the law), quota laws are an efficient means of increasing female presence within legislativ e bodies, and (2) alt hough they may achieve a level or equality within a legislative body, which at times has produced advancements in gender equality for women, quota laws do not necessarily increase public policies that focus on women’s issues or the feminist age nda. My arguments are a reflection of ideas suggested by several authors, particularly: Mala Htun, Mark P. Jones, Pippa Norris, and Lynn Stephen.1 I focus my analysis on Latin America because the countries in this region present excellent cases to observe my assu mptions and to test the theories of my predecessors, as they all have established diffe rent types of quota la ws, in different forms of electoral systems, in a similar time frame. This allows for a comparison of how a quota 1 Mala Htun and Mark P. Jones argue that there are “three elements that are cr ucial to the success of the quota: the utilization or a placement mandate in a closed-list system, a moderate to high average district magnitude, and party compliance.” (Htun and Jones in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 40) Pippa Norris agrees with Htun and Jones in her argument that “variation in the effectiveness of the quotas can be explained by whether the PR list is open or cl osed (with the latter most effective), the existence of placement mandates (requiring parties to rank women can didates in high positions on closed party list), district magnitude (the higher the number of candidates in a district, the more likely quotas are to work), and good faith party compliance.” (Norris 2004, 197) Htun also suggest that the mere presence of women in positions of power will not automatically generate policy outcomes sympathetic to women’s interests. (Htun 2001, 8-9) Stephen suggests that it should not be assumed that just because they are women, and have a common experience of segregation from political structures of powe r, that they all share the same interests. (Stephen 1997, 283)


5 law may be successful when applied to certain institutional designs, and unsuccessful when applied to others. I begin my analysis with depicting the evolution of feminism. Chapter 1 reviews the basic tenets of the various forms of feminism and how it has developed throughout three “waves”. I also discuss the importance of gender analysis and illustrate how Latin America has some unique views of feminism and gender roles. In Chapter 2 I discuss women’s social movements in Latin Am erica. I begin by conveying how these movements began during the time when most countries were transitioning towards democracy and played a significant part in the breakdown of authoritarian governments. I argue that the collapse of authoritarian rule allowed fo r the expansion of new ideas, which created an opening for women’s moveme nts to achieve their agendas, and that revolutions also played an im portant role in their development. I also give various examples as to how women’s movements have organized to achieve their intentions, and depict an obstacle that still divides them. Chapter 3 discusses an important result of women’s organizing: the adoption of quota la ws. In this chapter I define quota laws, provide examples from the lite rature of both support for and criticisms of quota laws, and depict what makes them successful in some instances and unsuccessful in others. Chapter 4 provides an analysis of Argentina and Br azil, along with other examples from Latin American countries that have quota laws. Argentina and Brazil provide for extremely useful comparative cases, because they had completely opposite results when first implementing a quota law due to their cont rasting forms of electoral systems and methods of application. My analysis illustrate s the direct effect of the quota laws on increasing women’s political presence in th e legislatures and ra ising awareness of


6 women’s gender issues. I also indicate the gaps in the research and show how the regional variation of the ways in which quot a laws were implemented and their results invalidate my initial hypothesis. My conc luding chapter reviews the overall effects of quota laws and their implications for women’ s movements and the feminist agenda, and offers some tentative explan ations for why certain inst itutional designs within the analyzed electoral systems do not ge nerate the anticipated effects. Despite the fact that my initial explan ations could not account for all of the observed outcomes, this thesis nevertheless presents some important findings about the relationship between quota laws and the achieve ment of gender equity in Latin American politics: (1) quota laws, are an efficient mean s of attaining fairness and equality with regards to the presence of women in decisi on-making processes, but are limited in their successfulness of increasing th e representation of women’s interests; (2) quota laws, while increasing women’s presence in politics, do not always lead to an increase in women’s voice regarding gender in politics; (3) government institutions need to be altered to meet the objectives of women’s social movements; and (4) although quota laws have not fully been successful in escalating wome n’s presence in legislatures in all of the Latin American countries that have ratifie d them, their enactmen t is of remarkable symbolic significance.


7 Chapter 1 : The Development of Feminism and Gender Analysis The concept of feminism and feminist notions on gender equality, politics, democracy, and the rights of wome n, are not new to this century. This chapter illustrates the development of feminism throughout thr ee major historical waves and depicts how the spread of the ideology has led to femi nist movements, and gender-based theories. I begin by providing an overview of feminism and feminist theory, which defines the ideology, how it has branched out into a numbe r of different theories, and illustrates its usefulness. I then describe the three major wa ves in which the theory spread and depict how feminists have used the concept of gender to express their suppression by society. By providing this information, I create a ba se of comparison to illustrate the uniqueness of Latin American feminism and conclude th at women’s social movements in the region are the essential aspect that keep the ideas of feminism thriving. Feminism and Feminist Theory Feminism is defined by the cultural, social, and political movements it encompasses, as well as its theories and moral philosophies concerning gender discrimination and equal rights for women. “H istorical, political, cu ltural, and economic systems of inequality have combined to pr oduce positions in the relations of power that can be characterized by exploitation, pain, suffering, struggle, and marginality. These abstract positions are, of course, inhabited by real people – in the instances studied here, by women.” (Stephen 1997, 6) As a result of th e combination of unequal social, political, and economic structures, the study of gender is crucial to comparative political analysis.


8 Feminism developed to depict the dispar ities experienced by women, and feminist scholars were the first to express a necessity for the analysis of gender. Feminists dispute traditional IR thinking; they claim that it categorizes men and women, adheres to the notion of women’s correspondence to a domestic life, and ultimately uses concepts such as “the state” to disguise a masculine identity. (Connell 1990, 509) Feminist theory aims to understand ge nder inequality and focuses on gender politics, power relations, and sexuality. Much of the theory focuses on the promotion of women's rights and interests, and provides a cr itique of social and political relations. The ideology of feminism and feminist gender th eory developed alongside liberalism, and the liberal emphasis on individual sovereignty a nd equal rights conti nues to inspire many women towards a feminist viewpoint. Howeve r, the contemporary liberal tradition is frequently presented as inimical to the langua ge and concepts of gender, which feminism is notorious for. (Phillips 1991, 21)The word “feminism” has remained a controversy from the time it was first conceived. In the early 1970s, the English-language definition of feminism, found in most American dictiona ries, was as follows: “…a theory and/or movement concerned with advancing the position of women through such means as achievement of political, legal or economic rights equal to those granted men.” (Offen 1992, 70) What’s important to note here is the end of ‘advancement’ and giving women rights equal to that of men. Since the mid1970s, the historians of women in the U.S. have articulated a comparable revisionist anal ysis for the history for American feminism. The Europeans had a similar, yet slightly different approach to defining feminism.


9 Europeans focus as much or more on elaborations of womanliness; they celebrated sexual difference within a fr amework of male/female complimentary; and, instead of seeking unqualified admissi on to male-dominated society, they [European feminists] mounted a wide-rangi ng critique of the society and its institutions. (Offen 1992, 70) Feminist notions are rooted in the con cept of ‘female consciousness’, which was introduced by a historian Temma Kaplan and is sometimes referred to as the consciousness of the ‘rights of gender’. The recognition that women can stand outside the control of male domination, not only provide s an account of women developing feminist consciousness, but also provides an account of men developing femi nist consciousness. (Colker 1990, 1155) Feminism seeks a rebala ncing between women and men of social, economic, and political power within a given society. Feminist claims are done on behalf of both sexes in the name of their comm on humanity, but with respect for their differences. (Offen 1992, 82) In the 1970's, women started developing a fe minist theory to help explain their oppression. By the 1980's, however, feminists st arted disagreeing on particular issues linked to feminism, thus causing feminism to branch out into many theories that focused on different feminist issues. T oday, there are as many definitions of feminism as there are feminists. Each definition of feminism depends on a number of factors including ones own beliefs, history and culture. Liberal Feminism Liberal feminism is an individualistic form of feminism that was most popular in the 1950's and 1960's when many civil rights movements were taking place. The main view of liberal feminists is that all peopl e are created equal by God and deserve equal rights. These types of feminists believe that oppression exists because of the way in


10 which men and women are socialized, which supports patriarchy and keeps men in power positions. Liberal feminists believe that women have the same mental capacity as their male counterparts and should be given the same opportunities in pol itical, economic and social spheres. Unlike the radical feminists, who believe that society must be changed at its core in order to dissolve patriarchy, not just through acts of legislation, liberal feminists create and support acts of legislation that remove the barriers for women. These acts of legislation demand equal opportuni ties and rights for women, including equal access to jobs and equal pay. Other important issues to liberal feminists include reproductive and abortion right s, sexual harassment, vot ing, education, 8affordable childcare, affordable health care, and bri nging to light the fre quency of sexual and domestic violence against women. Liberal fe minists are responsible for many important acts of legislation that have greatly increased the status of women, including reforms in welfare, education and health. Radical Feminism Radical feminism promotes the basis for many of the ideas of feminism. It sees the capitalist sexist hierarchy as the defi ning feature of women’s oppression. Radical feminists believe that the dom ination of women is the olde st and worst kind of oppression in the world, and that women can free themselves only when they have done away with what they consider an in herently oppressive and domi nating system. Most radical feminists believe that the to tal uprooting and rec onstruction of societ y is necessary in order to achieve their goals of freeing bot h men and women from the rigid gender roles that society has imposed upon them. They belie ve that we live in a sex-gender system


11 that has created oppression and their mission is to overthrow this system by any possible means. Socialist Feminism Socialist Feminism links women's oppression to the class structure. Much like the views of radical feminists, socialist femini sts believe that although women are divided by class, race, ethnicity and religion, they a ll experience the same oppression simply for being a woman. Social feminist s believe that sexism exists because a women's work is less valued since it does not produce exch angeable goods; this gives men power and control over women. Socialist feminists like to challenge the ideologies of capitalism and patriarchy. They believe that the way to end th is oppression is to put an end to class and gender by allowing women to work side by side men in the politic al sphere. In contrast to ideals of liberal feminism, which tend to fo cus on the individual woman, the socialist feminist theory focuses on the broader contex t of social relations in the community and includes aspects of race, ethni city and other differences. “Waves” of Feminism The ideology of feminism has spread worldwide in three notable “waves”. The first wave of feminism was in the nineteen th and early twentiet h centuries, the second was in the 1960s and 1970s and the third extends from the 1990s to the present. However, this does not imply that feminist activities a nd movements did not occur prior to the first wave. In Europe, women began to express a collective voice much ear lier than the three


12 waves suggest. For example, the French Revolution2 was a juncture during which women began to demand the recognition of their politi cal rights, as their pe ers had been doing. The First Wave First-wave feminism refers to the fi rst concerted movement working for the reform of women's social and legal inequali ties during the nineteen th century and early twentieth century in the Unite d Kingdom and the United Stat es. The term "first-wave" was coined retroactively in th e 1970s, but this wave is usua lly seen as having begun with the Seneca Falls Convention of 18483. The key concerns of this movement were education, employment, the marriage laws, a nd voting rights. Their major achievements included the opening of higher education for women, reform of the girls' secondaryschool system, the widening of access to the prof essions (especially in the medical field), married women's property rights (recognized in the Married Women's Property Act of 1870), and some improvement in divorced and separated women's child custody rights. In the United States first-wave feminism is consid ered to have ended with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United Stat es Constitution (1919), granting women the right to vote. The Second Wave Second-wave feminism developed from th e economic and social changes of the post-World War II years, which have effected deepening contradict ions in the capitalist economy, in the status of women, and in the family system. (National Conference of the 2 The French Revolution (1789–1799) was a period of political and social cataclysm in the political history of France and Europe as a whole. During this time the French government we nt through a fundamental change to forms based on Enlightenment principles of nationalism, citizenship, and incontrovertible rights. 3 The Seneca Falls convention was the beginning of th e seventy-two-year battle to obtain the vote for women which ended only in 1920 with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment: "The rights of citizens of the United States shall no t be denied or abridged by the Unite d States or by a ny state on account of sex." (Barth 2002)


13 Democratic Socialist Party, 1992) The feminist s of this period saw that cultural and political inequalities were linked and encour aged women to understand aspects of their personal lives as deeply polit icized and reflective of a sexist structure of power. Feminism thus progressed rapidly as a majo r critical ideology, and its stages have historically been dependent on and in tension with male-centered political and intellectual discourse. The feminists of the second-wave were primarily concerned with gaining full social and economic equality, having already gained almost full legal equality in many western nations. During the s econd-wave of feminism, the United States was the first country in which the radicalization of wo men appeared as a mass phenomenon. One of the main fields of interest to these women was in gaining the right to contraception and birth control, which were almost uni versally restricted until the 1960s. In 1964, the phrase "Women’s Liberation" was first used in the United States. By 1968, the term Women’s Liberation Front started to refer to the whole women’s movement. The women’s liberation moveme nt began among students and professional women. The demands it raised, combined with the growing contradictions within the capitalist system, began to mobilize and affect the awareness, expectations, and actions of significant sections of the working class, male and female. (ibid) One of the most vocal critics of the women's liberation movement has been Bell Hooks, an African-American author, feminist, and social ac tivist, who argues that the m ovement's glossing over of race and class was part of its failure to address "the issues that divided women". Her writing has focused on the interconnectivity of race, cl ass, and gender and their ability to produce and enable systems of repression and domina tion. She has also conveyed the lack of


14 minority influence in the women's movement. This discrepancy, along with others, led to the third wave of feminism, which challe nged many of the second-wave theories. The Third Wave Third-wave feminism began in the early 1990s as a response to perceived failures and backlashes of the second wave. The femini sts of the third-wave sought to challenge the second wave's theoretical over-emphases on the experi ences of upper middle-class white women and to negotiate prominent space within feminist thought for consideration of race-related subjectivities. Third-wave feminism also consists of debates between different feminists, such as Carol Gillig an, who believe that there are important differences between the sexes (which may or may not be inherent, but which cannot be ignored), and those who believe that there are no essential differences between the sexes (social roles are due to conditioning). (Gilligan 1982) A post-structuralist4 interpretation of gender and sexuality is central to much of the third wave's ideology. Gender Analysis During the second wave, in the late 1 960s and 1970s, the general usage of the term gender began to increasingly appear in the professional litera ture of the social sciences. The term served a useful purpose in distinguishing those aspects of life that were more easily attributed, or understood to be of social rather th an biological origin. (Diamond 2000, 46) Since the mid -1980s, fe minist researchers across the various disciplines have been shifting their focus fr om sex to gender. (Mazur 2002, 9) Feminist theories on the differentiation between se x and gender respond to the theoretical 4 Post-structuralists contend that the notion of "self" as a singular and coherent entity is a fictional construct. They believe that an individual is comprised of conflicting apprehensions and knowledge about notions such as gender, class, profession, etc.


15 emptiness that determined the behavioral ist approach. (Nelson 1992, 491) Non-feminists tend to ignore, the notion that feminists tend to insist on, which is that gender is not only about women, but also about men and mascu linity, and gender susc eptible accounts are not only about "adding women" to otherwis e unchanged research questions. Through culturally specific socializati on, people learn how to be masculine and feminine and how to assume the identities of men and women. It is gender that allows us to illustrate these differences in identity, since they revolve ar ound the roles we play a nd not our biological make-up. Feminists argue that the an alytic category of gender sy stematically shapes our conceptual frameworks. The taking of gende r critically makes a problem out of the implicit masculinism of founda tional categories and questions “Taking gender seriously might alter the study and practice of worl d politics.” (Peterson 1996, 870-873) Peterson notes that women and their bodies often beco me the “battleground” for male competition over honor, reproduction property, economic d ecision making, nationalist claims, and state power. (ibid, 876) In her book, Gender and International Relatio ns, Jill Steans refers to gender as “…not to what men and women are biological ly, but to the ideological and material relations which exist between them.” The te rms ‘masculine’ and ‘f eminine’ are gender terms that do not describe natural characteri stics. (Steans 1998, 10) Other definitions of gender are fairly similar, and most incor porate a distinction made between sex and gender. Gender is a feature of religious and ideological, political, statistic, and nationalist discourses. It is always and notably an aspect of domestic and international conflict and it is not reducible to some other form of ty ranny. Gender is not just about women; “it is


16 about masculinity and femininity as power re lations in the most political and pervasive sense-about the gendering of id entities, practices, institutions and theoretical frameworks and the intersection of these with other hierarchal relations…” (Peterson 1996, 877) Gender-based analysis is often seen as being unnecessarily divisive. However, the importance of gender as a crucial paramete r in social and economic analysis is complementary to the variables of class, ownership, occupations, incomes, and family status. (Sen 1990, 123) Whereas sex only focu ses on the biological difference of the individual, gender allows for the broader concep ts to be conceived, such as that person’s femininity or masculinity, and how those aspe cts are illustrated and affect society. “The oppression of women is not determined by their biology, as many contend. Sexual difference is a biological real ity but oppression and discrimi nation have not always been attached to such a difference.” (National C onference of the Democratic Socialist Party, 1992) Women have been treated unequally beca use of the social roles that have been assigned to them by society because of thei r gender. Throughout history, the feminist movement and women’s social movements ha ve focused on the ine qualities experienced by women due to these specific roles that society has allocated to them. Feminism in Latin America In Western Europe, state feminism grew largely out of mobilization by women's movements, but in Latin America, state feminism emerged from a combination of activism by women's movements, internat ional organizations, and state actors. (Franceschet and Krook 2006) Contemporary femini sms (radical, socialist, and liberal) in Latin America were born during the 1960s and 70s, as intrinsically oppositional movements to military regimes and nominal de mocracies alike that crushed progressive


17 movements of all sorts and unleashed the re pressive apparatus of the state upon civil society. From the beginning, feminists in th e countries that were ruled by military regimes exposed the patriarchal foundati ons of state subjugation, militarism, and institutionalized brutality, a position that was progressively adopted more generally by Latin American feminists. (Sternbach, Navarro-Aranguren, Chuchryk, and Alvarez 1992, 397) Thus, these feminists were instrumental in shaping a Latin American feminist praxis distinct from that of femi nist movements elsewhere. Feminism in Latin America is well rooted in Latin American culture, which was in many ways unfavorable to gender equal ity, and can be quite distinct from North American or European feminism. The ideas of gender difference were strongly rooted in the region’s major religion, Catholicism, wh ich gave figurative characterizations to maternalist structures of femininity and unde rpinned the notion of separate spheres for men and women. Reformers took advantage of the Catholic Church’s immense influence on social thought and used it to frequently invoke ideas of maternalism in order to support liberal feminist demands for education and equal rights.5 (Freedman 2002, 67) The inclusion of the role as spouse or compaera and mother is unique to the Latin American feminist definition of the female role. (Vanden and Prevost 2006, 121) In following the example of the Mothers of the Pl aza de Mayo of Argentina, most activists framed their interests as mothers of families and not as individuals. “In a general sense, the kinds of social interventi on characteristic of early tw entieth-century feminism both valorized the civilizing role of mother hood and demanded respect and protection for mothers and families.” (Dore and Molyneux eds. 2000, 221) 5 Similar to radical feminism, “maternalism called attentio n to personal life, including moral issues such as drinking and prostitution…it rested upon essentialist notions of a common womanhood that ignored class differences and presumed female moral superiority.” (Freedman 2002, 68)


18 A strong emphasis on motherhood and family seemed to invent a new kind of feminism that was distinctive to Latin America. It was this desire to protect their children, and their grandchildren, that propelled many Latin American mothers into politics. (Freedman 2002, 330) From this desire, new femi nist concepts were introduced, such as maternal feminism which resonates with the relationship between motherhood and political organization in social movements, and popular feminism, which emerged from social movements and concentrates on gende r and class rather th an motherhood. (Craske 1999, 165) Also, in many cases, women’s organi zations in the region avoided the term “feminist”, which they associated with hostili ty to men and to the family. (Jaquette and Wolchik 1998, 13) Other Latin American feminist attitudes, on issues such as abortion, can also be different from feminists in th e United States. Unlike feminists in other countries, feminisms in Latin America are ge nerally less oriented to liberation of the individual than to liberati on of the society from imperialism and underdevelopment. However, as elsewhere, Latin American fe minisms have been challenged to tackle classes and raced definitions of women’s realiti es and to integrate instead the reality of intersecting oppressi ons. (Code 2003, 289) The practice of feminism in Latin American is historically conn ected to grassroots organizing and service provisi on in poorer neighborhoods. Le gal assistance and support to victims of torture and other abused women were just some of the outreach activities performed by women in these grassroot s organizations. (Code 2003, 290) Through the organization of socialist, anarchist, and liberal feminist unions in a diverse range of Latin American countries, both middleand working-class women demanded changes consonant with their absorption into educat ion and employment. They used ideas of


19 domestic and maternal virtues as a foundation for activism and to generate ties of female solidarity. (Dore and Molyneux eds. 2000, 44-45) These Latin American women’s movements were the exemplary expression of feminist conscousness in the region, and they transformed traditionally private sp aces into profoundly public domains. (Code 2003, 290) Conclusion The collaboration of women in plight of a dvancing their rights may not have been termed “Feminism” until the 20th century, but the movement’s origin can be traced as early as the French Revolution. Currently, th e third wave of feminism continues the struggle endured by its ancestors to advance the notions of gender inequality. This chapter has provided background information on th e development of feminism in order to better depict origins of women’s social m ovements, many of which were inspired by feminist notions. “Feminism as well as dominant cultural ideologies about women’s proper place in the home and family influe nced the public disc ourses and individual interpretations of goals, strate gies and the result s of these movements.” (Stephen 1997, 3) The next chapter will illustrate how these m ovements were formed, and argue that, with the world turning toward democracy, women have found a hole in the transition process in which they can pursue their specific age ndas. In Latin America, the transition to democracy has allowed women’s movements in many countries to establish new cultural, social, and political norms regarding their rights.


20 Chapter 2 : Women’s Social Movements in Latin America There are many prominent women in Latin American history, including (but not limited to): Sor Juana Ins de la Cruz, w ho’s writings convey the struggle of the individual woman during the late 1600s; Lu cila de Mara del Pe rpetuo Socorro Godoy Alcayaga, also known as Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat and feminist who was the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1945, Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Caldern, also known simply as Frida Kahlo, an influential Mexian painter in the early-mid 1900s; and Mara Eva Duarte de Pern, often referred to simply as Eva Peron or Evita, wa s the second wife of President Juan Domingo Pern (1895–1974) and served as the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. These women paved the way for femi nist ideas to be brought forth and be solidified into cultural norms. The transition to democracy created a spark which helped to ignite the ideas that thes e women had originally projec ted and created an opportunity for women to mobilize along gender lines and advance their specific agendas in several Latin American countries. As argued by Dougl as Chalmers, Scott Martin, and Kerianne Piester (1996, 565), transitions in Latin America opened up new possibilities for representation of popular sectors. “Women’s movements, understood as female collective action in pursuit of social and political goals, are, like other social movements, essentially modern phenomena.” (Molyneux 2001, 3) In the 1970s and 1980s, politicized women’s groups emerged in the framework of new st ate formation and economic transformations, played a prominent role in the struggles agai nst authoritarian rule, and raised hopes that


21 the return of democracy would generate gr eater opportunities for women in the region. (Kline and Wiarda 2000, 51) It has commonly b een recognized that in many instances women’s movements played a significant part in the initial brea kdown of aut horitarian rule. (Waylen 2000, 770) “Within the cases of transition in Latin America, scholars generally concur that the suppression of conventional forms of political activity under military rule provided a space for nontraditiona l actors and nontraditional participation to emerge. “ (Baldez 2003, 258) This chapter depicts how the women’s movements in Latin America assisted in the transition to democracy by taking advant age of the reformation process during the second and third wave of feminism, when mo st countries in Latin America had fallen under the cloak of crippling ex ternal debt calamities, by wo rking to promote the concept of gender, and by spreading awareness of women’s rights. I argue that women’s movements played a significant role in the breakdown of authoritarian governments, that the collapse of authoritarian ru le allowed for the expansion of new ideas, thus ultimately creating an opening for women’s movements to achieve their agendas. It was during this time that the changes in Latin America favored a possible convergence of contemporary Marxist and feminist theory and practice. “Key issues pointing toward a convergence of thinking include a reevaluation and redefinition of democracy, the concept of ‘a plurality of social subjects’ or potential revolutionary actors, the im portance of autonomy for popular movements in relation to politic al parties and the state, and a new understanding of the importance of da ily life in the struggle for socialism.” (Chinchilla 1991, Abstract)


22 The Development of the Feminist/Women’s Movements: Socialism, Revolutions and the Breakdown of Authoritarian Regimes. Second-wave Latin American feminism is often attributed to the United Nations Conference on Women held in Mexico City in 1975. This conference served as an important catalyst for the discussions about women’s situation in many Latin American countries. However, as Chinchilla notes, connecting second-wave feminism in Latin America to the conference alone, underestim ates feminist activities prior to the conference, in countries such as Mexic o, Brazil, and Argentina. (ibid, 294) These feminist activities led to women’s movements that aide d in the bringing down of authoritarian rule. Between the 1960s and the 1990s, the rise of the feminist movement brought new ideas about women’s roles, while changes in social practices and the consolidation of democratic politics put pre ssures on old laws. (Htun 2003, 1) The struggle of women became not only a struggle to address their reproductive work and gender/class relations, but also a struggle to overcome their lack of power, primarily through the transformation and politicizati on of identity. (Escobar and Alvarez 1992, 147) In Latin America, a majority of the women’s movements solidified in the 1980s (with the exception of the C uban women’s movement, which occurred primarily in the early to mid 1900s). In some countries such as Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, and Mexico, the wave of feminism began as a primarily middle-class and intellectual movement and later spread to the lower-class and indigenous regions. In Peru, feminism had its beginnings almost simultaneously in the middle class and in the rise if social movements (in which most of the partic ipants were women). (Stephen 1997, 12)


23 Many social groups in Latin America began to place a high priority on the quest for political democracy.Alvarez and Escobar note that soci al movements must be seen as essential forces in democratization of aut horitarian social rela tions. “The feminist movement, for instance, has garnered sufficien t political clout and increased its social reach in some countries, so much so that tr ade unions, political parties, and policymakers have incorporated (however begrudgingly) some of its pol itical banners.” (Alvarez and Escobar 1992, 326) The feminist movement has al so created awareness of forms of sexist discrimination present in the methods of le ftist militancy and othe r types of oppression beyond the purely economic. (ibid, 187) Many s ee social movements as the cure for contemporary political ills in that they cr eate new values and new forms of social interaction. For this reason, wo men’s social movements in Latin America can be seen as major contributors to the “cure” for the “disease ” that was authoritarian rule, in that they fulfilled expectations for social change and brought new ideas into perspective. (Jaquette 1994, 233) One of their major contributions to the transition from authoritarian rule was their spread socialist values6, which offered a substitute to both liberalism and capitalism, one that would simultaneously secure the goals of national development and social justice. (Dore and Molyneux 2000, 59) Women’ s movements are often connected with socialist notions. “In general, socialism has been more ‘feminist’ than either Roman Catholicism or liberalism, and the majority of Latin American feminist have been associated with left-wing parties inspired by socialist principles.” (Htun 2003, 43) 6 “Socialism professed the full equalities of men and women, and in identifying the family as a major site of inequality, it proposed to remove the basis of traditional gender order by giving women new rights and the means to achieve economic autonomy through employment.” (Dore and Molyneux 2000, 59)


24 While some authors, such as Burbac h and Nunez (1988), do not recognize any particular contribution that women’s organizing of femini sm can make toward the class struggle and the building of socialism, La tin American Marxist-feminists do, however, explicitly discuss these cont ributions and interconnectio ns in their writings and documents. For example, activists in mixed groups such as shanty town and trade union organizations in Chile twist the traditional ar gument that feminism is divisive and argue instead that men and women will remain divided unless they engage in a common political project that ack nowledges women’s subordinati on and directly confronts machismo. Thus, they illustrate how a feminist perspective can make the class struggle “more efficient”. (Alvarez and Escobar 1992, 45 ) Many of these class struggles created a path for revolutionary struggles in several La tin American countries, which in turn led to the establishment of more women’ s organizations and movements. During the twentieth century, women work ed alongside men in revolutionary struggles. Women revolutionari es believe that a socialist revolution is a precondition for the development of the women’s movement while at the same time admitting that women do not have equality within the moveme nt. (Code 2003, 289) In countries such as Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador and elsewhere, the emergence of parties on the revolutionary left included the formation of mass organizations for women that were initially created to develop a social base of support. (ibid, 57) In his books Democracy in America and The Old Regime and French Revolution Alexis de Tocqueville was the first to theorize about the implica tions of changes for collectiv e action. He illustrated how differences in patterns of state building produ ced differences in the opportunity structures of social movements. (Tarrow 1998, 55) Latin America serves as a principal example of


25 how the revolutionary transition towards de mocracy created the opportunity structures that women’s movements needed in order to advance their agendas. In Nicaragua, for example, feminist ideology during the Sandinista Revolution was largely responsible for improvements in the quality of life for women. Women organized to assist with th e revolutionary process duri ng the 1979-1990 Sa ndinista rule through an organization known as AMNLAE (Asociacion de Mujeres Nicaraguenses Luisa Amanda Espinosa). AMNLAE was init ially established in 1977 under the name Asociacin de Mujeres ante la Problemtica Nacional (AMPRONAC) and was part of the Sandinista (FSLN) network which was se t on bringing down the Anastasio Somoza Garca regime in 1979. Shortly after the fall of Somoza, AMPRONAC change its name to AMNLAE, after Luisa Amanda Espinoza, the first women to die in the war against Somoza, but remained closely connected to the FSLN as their slogan suggests: "No revolution without women's emancipation: no emancipation w ithout revolution.” AMNLAE continued the struggle for women's e quality and played a significant role in mobilizing women across Nicaragua on issues of women's involvement in war, abortion, rape, domestic violence, sex education, and workplace equality. The Cuban Revolution occurred before feminism’s second wave, and unlike the Nicaragua Revolution, its leadership never candidly embraced feminist ideas; it never generated the kind of loyal feminist oppositi on that, in Nicaragua’s more pluralized political context, was able to achieve a feminist input into state policies and law. (Dore and Molyneux 2000, 60) However, the Cuban re volution was quite similar to that of Nicaragua in that, as in Nicar agua, the values that informed the revolution were highly egalitarian, a point that woul d favor the development of autonomous feminism. “When


26 one looks at the periods after the revolutiona ries came to power, the similarities are striking, especially with regard to the popular organizations that were entrusted with organizing women.” (Kampwirth 2004, 193) Founded on August 23, 1960 in Cuba, the women’s organization known as the The Fe deration of Cuban Women (Federacion de Mujeres Cubanas, FMC) is a mass group that carries out policies and programs aimed at achieving the full recognition of equality and emancipation of Cuban women in all areas and levels of society. The FMC is composed of organizations that had been accounting for women before its creation, which decided to unite into a single federation, including: the Women's Revolutionary Unity (UFR), whic h brought together a la rge number of rural women, the Agrarian Column, the Female Revolutionary Brigades, the group Women Humanists, and the Brotherhood of Mothers, among other groups. The FMC acknowledged women’s efforts on behalf of household reproduction and the burden of a women’s daily life associated with a shorta ge economy that had largely fallen on them during the revolutionary period, and noted that this burden had disqualified women from taking a fuller role in political life. Thus, wh ile Cuban socialism promoted equality in the law, achieved greater incorporation of wo men in the public sphere, and ensured the reproductive rights of women, unlike in Nicaragua it did less to resolve the persistent gender inequalities in social life. (Dore and Molyneux 2000, 60) El Salvador’s women’s movements also sprung from revolutionary organizations, but unlike the national women’s organizations in Cuba and Nicaragua which remained linked to revolutionary parties that came to head governments, some declared their autonomy from their founding parties either befo re or shortly after they entered into the formal political process. Another ex ample of women’s organization during a


27 revolutionary period is the revol utionary movement called the Zapatistas in Mexico. They brought women into their demands, discus sions, and leadership by establishing a “Revolutionary Law of Women.”(ibid, 13-14) While the revolutions in Latin America have illustrated indication of social change, which created an opening for wome n’s social movements to spread their agendas, the most concrete evidence of the wave of La tin American feminism is illustrated by the establishment of a series of regional Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentros in the beginning of 1981. The Encuentros were biannual, regionwide feminist meetings, which offered women a vehicle for coming together and becoming politicized, and for developing strate gies, to fight against prevailing sexism, racism, economic disparity, neo/colonialism, and political repression. These meetings began with only two hundred participants in Bogota, Colombia in 1981, and grew to over twenty-five hundred women in San Bernardo, Ar gentina in 1990. Some of their themes included: the influence of race and class on wo men’s lives, and ways for the participants to bring women’s various concerns to nati onal institutions such as labor unions and political parties. (Freedman 2002, 111) “While the encuentros by no means represent all of the work being done in the name of feminism in Latin America, they became increasingly diverse with time and raised some of the major issues being debated in many countries.” (Dore and Molyneux 2000, 15) Latin American nations have traditiona lly held a political and economic Third World standing, leading women to share a widespread bequest of repression. The growth of the second-wave Latin American feminist movement put gender equality and reproductive rights on the policy agenda in many Latin American countries. (Htun 2003,


28 5) The movement has proposed that while economic reliance, poverty, and colonial associations with western na tions are key to understanding the conditions in which Latin American women live, patriarchal ideologies--s uch as traditional norms and values about women's social status and economic role, little access to formal pol itical structures and educational resources, unequal division of la bor and the exploitativ e nature of women's work, and the historical heritage of machismo characterize women's lives. The Latin American women’s movement argued the notion of “equality of results”, which states that real equal oppor tunity does not exist just because formal barriers are removed, and that direct disc rimination, along with complex pattern of hidden barriers, prevent women from getting their share of po litical influence. (Dahlerup 2002, 3) The strategic gender interests of the Latin American feminist movements have allowed women to advance into the public aspe ct of life and to achieve access to arenas formerly dominated by men. The access to the traditionally “male” sphere of public power has given feminist movements the ability to challenge oppressive gender hierarchies and to carve out a new place for wo men in society and in public office. It is generally recognized that the new social movements of Latin America represent an innovative form of politics which has recast political agendas and action. (Radcliffe and Westwood 1993 [eds.], 16) Though they were overshadowed by the remnants of authoritarian regimes and difficult economic trends, women’s social movements in Latin America, along with gender-aware research, contribu ted to the development of an independent civil society and helped to advance the spread of demo cratic and humanitarian ideals. (Craske and Molyneux 2002, 4) As Mo lyneux (2000:64-5) notes:


29 The collapse if military rule in the 1980s and the return of civilian governments to power were accompanied by a deepening of the restructuring process, but in the context of a greater commitment to social justice and “good governance”… Partly under the influence of the inter national women’s movement, partly due to the greater self-confiden ce and organizational strengt h of national women’s movements, and partly in an effort to presen t a modern face to the world, newly elected democratic governments recognized women as a constituency that required representation in the state. (Chant and Craske 2003, 2) The following sections illustrate the ways in which women organized to achieve their agendas in the various Latin American countri es. Though their struggles for rights have a potential for achieving greater gender equal ity, the following exemplifys the conflicts (bother internal and external to the move ment) that have created restrictions and difficulties to rights-based work. The last section specifically, illustrates how the issue of domestic servitude creates a divide among women, thus posing as a major issue to women’s movements whose goal is to unite women on an equal platform in order to demand equality to men. Coalitions A common strategy across Latin Americ a, given particular national and international opportunities, is th e use of national-level coali tions for the advancement of women’s rights. “Coalitions have provided the means for effective mediation among women to articulate a set of gender-specific de mands at the national level, particularly when women face a history of political excl usion.” (Friedman in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 59) During the democratizat ion process in countries su ch as Chile, El Salvador, Brazil and Venezuela, women established variou s coalitions to assert a wide range of demands. For example, in Chile, the National Coalition of Women for Democracy (Concertacion Nacional de Mujeres por la De mocracia:CNMD) was established in 1989


30 as an autonomous women’s coalition in support of the centre-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy (Concertacion de Partidos por la Democracia) and to raise gender-specific issues during the transition to democracy. (i bid, 57-58) As a result of its formation, the winner of the 1989 elections, Patricio Aylwin, made women a key constituency to which he addressed his presidential appeal. (Bra nd 1998, 20) The CNMD had a clear influence on government policy in that most of its proposed gender-speci fic policies were implemented by the democratic government between 1990 and 1994. However, while these coalitions provided a way for the concer ns of women to be voiced, and like in the Chilean case, important changes regarding gende r equality to be established, they often encountered several internal a nd external issues that have yet to be resolved through coalition-based activism. In El Salvador, women formed the Mujere s ‘94’ Coalition with the purpose using the 1994 elections to raise gender conscious ness in the new democracy. Although the coalitions efforts resulted in an improved record of registered female voters, as a whole, turnout was disappointing. Brazil is another c ountry in which a coalition’s efforts were not entirely successful; yet in Brazil’s case, the problems were in ternal. The Union of Brazilian Women for Be ijing ’95 (Articulacao de Mulheres Brasileiras) was formed in preperation for the 1995 Fourth World Confer ence on Women in Beijing. The coalition sought to capitalize on the inte rnational attention to ge nder inequality by raising awareness at the national level. However, the organization was criticized for its centralization and seeming elitis m in that it did not attempt to engage women at the local level around their particular issues. (F riedman in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 58)


31 The first Venezuelan organization to br ing together feminist and nonfeminist women’s groups on an ongoing basis was the CONG. The CONG was a nonpartisan, civil society-based women’s rights association that had the goal of “bringing together women’s organizations to exchange inform ation and work on common projects without interference in the specific wo rkings of any member group.” (ibid, 62) In collaboration with the Oficina Nacional de la Muje r/National Women’s Office (OMN), the CONG fought to reform discriminatory aspect s of the Labour Law in Venezuela. Labour laws affected women because they worked extensively and hard in mills and factories, in the home, and as domestic servants. (Smith 2004, 247) The movement to change the Labour Law established the pot ential of women’s coalition-building for attaining their rights. (Friedman in Cras ke and Molyneux 2002, 74) The new Labour Law encompassed many of the original propos als generated by the ONM and the CONG; discrimination on the foundation of sex in em ployment advertising and work conditions was prohibited, and neither spouse could now reque st the other to give up their job on the basis of family needs. (ibid, 73) The ability of women to achieve these changes was due to the organization of their coalition. By organizing “loose-knit” coalitions around an explicit issue, rather than hi ghly organized groups that mostly likely have been ruined by diversity, women were able to work together regardless of their differences. (ibid, 74) Differences in the group did produ ce some discrepancy however. Though most changes to the Labour Law were agreed upon, one point of incongruity stood out: that of which classes of women w ould have full rights. (ibid, 67) Despite the success women achieved through coalition bui lding, like in the case of Brazil, the coalition was not completely representative of women from all classes. “It did not extend


32 equal rights to those women who worked in the home, whether th eir own or someone else’s.” (ibid, 61) This is a key criticism to the notion of coalitions, movements, and feminism in general, in that it illustrates th at women will not achieve equality with men if they cannot first create e quality among themselves. Legal Reform Men held parental authority, known as patria potestad, over children and rights over women in Latin America during the coloni al period and for most of the nineteenth century. La patria potestad essentially refers to parent's official cons ent, which meant that men were given a set of right s (that women were not) over pe rsons and property of their unemancipated children, and thus had the abil ity to make decisions on behalf of their children, whereas the mothers had no say. To wards the end of the nineteenth century, women began to take action as the protagonists rather than as objects of legal reform. With transitions from authoritarian rule towards notions of democracy and elected governments in the 1980s and 1990s, along wi th increased emphasis on women’s rights in transnational arenas, the fo cus of women’s movements in Latin America shifted to the institutional and legal arena. (ibid, 87) Women in Latin America have taken an increasingly hands-on and tr ansformative approach to the legal apparatus of their respective countries ove r the last two decades. (Macaula y in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 79) Fiona Macaulay states that “by engaging with the legal system, women’s groups hope not merely to gain new rights as citizens, but also to have them honored in practice.” (ibid, 97) Themis, a Brazilian NGO that trains grassr oots outreach workers who in turn aid working-class women in accessing the justice system, provides a typical example of a


33 way in which women organized to educate e ach other about gender issues and how to overcome them. Thus, it is illustrative of the st rategies used by the majority of women’s organizations across the region and helps us to better comprehend the tribulations that women went through in their plight for gende r equality. Themis, na med after the Greek goddess of justice, was founded in 1993 with the aim of bridging the gap between gender perspectives and feminist concerns on the one hand, and the mechan isms and institutions of the law, on the other. (ibid, 92) Themis teaches women community leaders in lowincome suburbs about law and protecting human rights, and trains them to become legal advocates. At a national level, Themis work s with the Brazilian women’s movement to recommend and expand public policies conc erning gender and access to the justice system, and to develop legislation that supports gender equality. (Neira 2004) Though the efforts of women’s movements and organizations such as Themis have accomplished many of their goals of empowering women, there are still many obstacles that must be overcome. Institutions in Latin America need to modify to encompass the reformations demanded upon by women. The empowerment of women is simply not enough to transforming a country that is dominated by male influence. “Reform of the justice system institutions within a democratic society is now on the agenda for the twenty-first century.” (Macaulay in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 97) The current deficiencies in the justice system will continue to restra in the ambitions of women’s organizations, but hopefully it wi ll not deteriorate their stamina. Combating Domestic Violence In the 1980s and 1990s, when governments we re transitioning from authoritarian to somewhat democratic, domestic violence be came another focal point in the agenda of


34 Latin American women’s movements. (J ohnson in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 102) In Uruguay, the issue was pursued by women who were establishing an engagement in gender-based activism in political parties and independent women’s groups between 1984 and 1985. The particular issue of domestic violence was first raised by the Working Group on Women’s Status. This group was a c oordinated body of fema le representatives from various political parties and women’ s social organizations, which struggled effectively to be incorporated in the National Consensus-Building Forum (CONAPRO). (ibid, 103) To combat traditional taboos surrounding the issue of violence against women, in 1988 the first women’s organiza tion to specialize in domestic violence, SOS women, was founded. This group was essential towards rese arching domestic violence statistics and holding awareness-raising workshops. The or ganization was later joined by other specialist NGOs. In 1990 feminist organizations decided to take thei r issue of domestic violence to the state level. The first offi cial steps towards ta ckling the problem of domestic violence were taken by th e Uruguayan National Council of Women (CONAMU). (ibid, 104) The decline in social and political acti vism and economic recession in Uruguay in the early 1990s led to the jo ining of eight women’s organi zations and the founding of the Uruguayan Network against Domestic and Se xual Violence (RUVDS) This organization allowed for women to share experiences, provided a support network, and developed a better method for the allocation of the limite d resources. The primary concern of the Network was to press for greater state acc ountability with regards to the domestic violence issue. (ibid, 107)


35 By the end of the 1990s obvious progress had been made by the Uruguayan women’s movement in its crusade to defend wo men’s right to be free from violence. The Penal Code included domestic violence as a st atutory offence and various state agencies and ministries implemented projects as an indication that the issue was no longer considered an individual personal issue. However, the campaign to make the state accountable had not been completely succe ssful. Though eight bills concerning domestic violence were presented to the Uruguayan parliament in 1990s, only three were passed and only one of those three wa s actually implemented. The complexity of the domestic violence problem made it very difficult to de fine the states respons ibilities. (ibid, 115117) As Niki Johnson points out, “unle ss women’s rights to sexual autonomy, reproductive self-determination a nd bodily integrity are respect ed in relation to the whole range of women’s life experiences, the con cept of women’s human rights issues is seriously weakened and the gains made in the campaign against dom estic violence could come under threat.” (ibid, 118) Sexual and Reproductive Rights Women share a commonality in many areas although they are observably extremely different. One of the areas in wh ich women are connected is the fight for sexual and reproductive rights, which are globally recogni zed as significant both to advancing women's human rights and to encour aging development. Particularly in Latin America, where democracies remain brittle and governments’ protection of human rights has been unreliable, the judicialcourts must aim to be guarantors of the human rights of all citizens. In Latin America and the Cari bbean alone, 23,000 women die every year from causes related to pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, mainly hemorrhaging,


36 unsafe abortion, infection, obstructed labo r and toxemia. Also, while sixty-two percent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 in Latin Am erica are using modern contraceptive methods, the increase in the percentage continues to be low among rural women, low-income women a nd women with less educati on, adolescents, and certain ethnic groups. (LACWHN)7 A study by Ceri Willmott, in which she participated in workshops concerning sexuality and interviewed local women in the lower-income settlements of southern Santiago, Chile between January 1995 and January 1997, shows how women’s struggle for sexual and reproductive rights is an inte rnational aspect that connects all women’s experiences even though they are all situational and specific in a way that highlights a range of cultural, religious, economic and so cial concerns and in terests. (Willmott in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 125-126) She argues th at international ri ghts are applicable across cultural circumstances. The method by which women construe such rights and relate them in their lives exemplifies how th e notions of ‘rights’ a nd ‘citizenship’ can be used as premeditated apparatuses in nego tiating their circumstances in different environments. She also argues that certain notions contained in the state and Church discourse, position women in a cert ain way that limits their abili ty to put their rights into practice. (ibid, 124-125) Willmott believes th at despite such predicaments, “women’s 7 The Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network, LACWHN, was created in 1984 during the First Regional Women and Health Meeting held in Tenza, Colombia. It is a network of organizations and individuals in the women's health movement working to promote women's health and the full exercise of women's human rights and citizenship through the cultural, political and social transformation of our region and the world from a feminist perspective. Their information was obtained from the United Nations Population Fund, the Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization, Population Action International and the Safe Motherhood Initiative.


37 activities can have a bottom-up effect on ge nder, disrupting stat e constructions and cultural stereotypes, and redefining the conten t and practice of citi zenship.” (ibid, 144) Although women had been molded to see their sexuality as being a service to their husband rather than their own enjoyment, the development of democratic ideals and notions of gender and intern ational rights enforced a ne w outlook regarding women’s image. The limitations of a women’s sexuality are slowly being broken down from their traditional association with a women’s maternal role, and transcending towards a new outlook of a women’s self and societal value. Willmott is on point in her assertion that all women are connected by the same internationa l human and gender rights. It is through workshops, such as the ones Willmott attende d, and through other forms of education, that women are joining together and empowe ring themselves to take power over their human rights in their respective cultures. Indigenous Women’s Rights The indigenous people of Latin America te nd to fare poorly in terms of income, education, and maternal and infant mortality.The unease of poverty, as well as a conflict of cultures, often leave the women of such societies subj ect to gender-based violence, regardless of indigenous traditions of balan ce and shared lives between men and women. In the Andes region, indigenous women have been ignored by th e states in their construction of rights and by the political moveme nts of the area. In Mexico, as a force of social transformation in the 1990s, indigenous women made an appearance as new social subjects (Blackwell in Chong 2007, 193) “The participation of indigenous women in Mexico’s growing civil soci ety mobilization, their demands against the state, and economic order, and their insistence on women’s autonomy within their own


38 communities dismantles the notion that others could speak for them.” (ibid, 194) Yet, Sarah A. Radcliffe argues that “the rights granted by stat es – and those fought for by peasants, by indigenous peoples and by wo men – have not adequately guaranteed indigenous women’s rights .” (Radcliffe in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 149) Being a citizen entails having political pa rticipation rights within a society. When examining the region in social, economic and po litical terms, Andean republican states and societies have not regarded indigenous wo men as citizens in the complete sense of the term. (ibid, 150) The state and the And ean society have been treating indigenous women as equivalent to a population of peasants or I ndians. They have been marginalizing their place in society, not considering the role of community patriarchal hegemony and masculine understandings of valu e, in their denial of rights to women. (ibid, 165) Women account for nearly 60 percen t of the 50 million indigenous people in Latin America and the Caribbean. A study by the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancem ent of Women (UN-INSTRAW), notes that indigenous women experience access to resour ces and positions of power in a different way from non-indigenous men and women. The study states that these women face “triple discrimination: as women, as indigenous people a nd as poor people”. (Lucas 2007) In an article entitled “LATIN AMERICA: Indigenous, Black Wo men Face ‘Triple Glass Ceiling’”, Kintto Lucas discusse s the arguments advanced by Guatemalan indigenous activist Otilia Lux de Cot. De Coti exclaims that “from the indigenous women’s point of view, the st ruggle for women’s right to participate is inextricably linked to the struggle for i ndigenous peoples’ right to pa rticipate…therefore, when


39 demanding minimum quotas for women’s par ticipation, quotas for indigenous and Afrodescendant women should also be specified.” In the same ar ticle, Afro-Brazilian leader Mara Ins Barbosa notes that the nation states in Latin American and the Caribbean were founded on ideologies that included sexism a nd racism. "To eliminate sexism and racism, we need to change society, but often at inte rnational forums we change the words we use so as not to have to change society. This cannot go on; we must ch ange society instead," she said. (ibid)Although there have been efforts to a ppease indigenous women, the collective rights awarded to Andean indi genous populations in the 1990s cannot mask the issue of common patriarchies that continue to lim it or deny women’s rights within those collectivities. In addition, women from the indigenous population struggle for rights within their own gender alliance. In fact, these women did not enjoy participating in the Feminist Encuentros until the sixth meeting. (Stephen 1997, 19) Yet, Radcliffe believes that by tying together multiple stands of identity into an eff ective politics, Andean indigenous women’s rights can be achieved. (Radcliffe in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 168) In Mexico, the emergence of indigenous women as new social subjects was a force for social transformation in the 1990s and represents a sector of women’s organizing whose political, cultural, economic and social claims are both new and old. (Blackwell in Chong 2007, 193) The particip ation of indigenous women in Mexico’s growing civil society mobilizat ion, their demands against th e state and economic order, and their insistence on women’s autonomy w ithin their own communities dismantles the notion that others could speak for them. (i bid, 194) Since indige nous women come from


40 multiple positions stemming from the cultures of their respective countries, their collectiveness may allow for a chance at attaining their rights; just as banning together worked for the networks that fought agai nst domestic violence in Uruguay and the coalitions in Venezuela. Domestic Servants Industrialization in Latin America has not been able to keep pace with urbanization, thus income distribution in th e region is very unequal. With not enough jobs available, women tend to migrate to ci ties more often than men, resulting in urban populations having more women than men and rural populations having the opposite. While some women arrive with their families and perform domestic work for their own households, others arrive alone and enter the labor force as paid domestic servants for middleto upper-class families. These servants are often exploited and have to neglect their own families. The difficulties and inequalities experienced by these domestic servants have been noted in various studies and articles. One such study, Women's Labor Force Participation Rates in Latin America released by the United Nations Internationa l Labor Organization (ILO) to commemorate the 2006 International Women's Day, found th at an increasing number of women now hold jobs in Latin America's urban areas, rising from 39 percent of the total working population in 1990 to 44.7 percent in 2002. The st udy attributed the increase in female participation in the labor market to bette r schooling, urban growt h, declining fertility rates, new cultural patterns that support the autonomy of women, and an increase in the number of female-headed households. However, the study also showed mixed results for women in access to quality jobs, unemploym ent compensation, remuneration and social


41 protection. It conveyed that domestic service represents 15.5 percent of the total female employment in Latin America. Maria Elena Valenzuela, co-author of the study performed by the ICO, said that one of the reason s why so many poor women are employed in domestic service in Latin America is because many women from mediumand highincome households have entered the labor market, thus many poor women "can only find paid employment by working for the better-off," she said. (Green 2006) Another study, in Santiago, Chile, found that 57 percent of recent women migrants aged 15-24 were working as domestic servants in the 1970s. Working in higher class households, these women we re isolated from other work ers and their identification with the working class. Usually, by age 24, or after a 7-year career in service, the woman leaves the domestic service workforce to c oncentrate on a family of her own. However, the goal of having her own family often m eans abandoning her present job, thus reducing the income for the family she wishes to start. (Jelin, 1978) In an article for the Daily Utah Chr onicle, Bobbi Parry relates information regarding a speech made by Alma Guillermopr ieto, a Latin American journalist and author. Guillermoprieto lectured on the re lationship between female servants and employers in both Latin America and the United States, as part of a series on writing in Latin America and the United States, sponsored by the Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center. In her lecture, Guillerm oprieto noted an “inherent shamefulness” exists in the relationship between a dome stic servant and her employer, calling it “a relationship between haves and have-nots”. In Latin America, domestic servants cook, do all of the house work, and he lp raise the children, however “there is no relationship between wages paid and services provided,” she said. Thus, the servants end up providing


42 crucial services for low wages, on aver age of about $80 per month. Unfortunately, because many Latin Americans have developed the at titude that life is unfair, this type of lifestyle has become accep table. (Parry 2001) Judith Rollins depicts an additional characte ristic of the domestic servant sector in Latin America; it is composed disproportio nately of people of Indian or Mestizo backgrounds. (Rollins 1985, 41) In a white upper-middleor upper-class neighborhood, a woman of color (typically of I ndian or Mestizo descent) is immediately identified as a servant, and the class and race superiority of her employer are confirmed. Rollins argues that women's use of other women as servan ts is more unequal than other occupations because the affiliation between employer and em ployee is distinctively personal. She uses the relationship between Black, female dom estic servants and their white women employers to show how one class and race of women escapes some of the consequences of patriarchy by using the labor of other wome n. She also demonstrates that privileged women's use of other women is personally exploitative, divisive among women, and inherently conservati ve. (Ostander 1987, 51) Rollins argues that the use of domes tics by other women is in fundamental opposition to a feminism that goes beyond a lib eral agenda of equal opportunity for women to seek an end to all forms of inst itutionalized inequality. By increasing the demand for domestics, as middle-class women pr ogress into the paid labor force and seek to improve their own standing by not doing domestic work themselves, the feminist movement has actually contributed to the di vide among women. (ibid, 52) In other words, the division between different races transcends the divi sion between the genders and


43 creates the divide among women, thus provi ng to be a complicated challenge that feminism needs to tackle. Conclusion The Latin American women’s movements th at developed out of the revolutionary process towards the transition to democratic consolidation have been highly significant actors in the push for political chance at many levels. These movements were able to organize autonomously; they provided an aren a for political debate during a period when military oppression made other forms of public assembly practically impossible, and they brought feminist analysis to bear on larger issues of po litical change. (Jaquette and Wolchik 1998, 13) Ironically perhaps, the tre nds of that revolutionary time period had formed the backdrop to the most concentrat ed period of feminist organizing in Latin American history, and the introduction to the advancement of the cause of gender equality and women’s rights throughout the re gion of state apparatus and legislation. (Chant 2003, 1-2) The concern for democracy has been a substantially impacted due to the development of feminism. (Vargas in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 217) In return, feminism has had many achievements due to the advancement of democracy. Women are becoming observable, empowered social actors as society’s traditional belief systems are being modified. Progress is being made in process towards the acknowledgment of diversity, and laws continue to be passed to ensure that the boundari es of citizenship be expanded. (ibid, 215) While a review of the changes in gender-s tate relations in Latin America over the course of the twentieth century shows that female activism ensured that some account was taken of women’s interests, concessions from governments were usually minimal,


44 and the arenas of decision-making power remained largely impermeable to female accession until the century’s close. (Dore and Molyneux eds. 2000, 68) Since the beginning of the 1990s, due to an increase in pressure from women’s social movements, many of the Latin American countries have begun to addr ess the issue of underrepresentation of women in politics thro ugh the application of gender quotas, which specify minimum levels of representati on for each sex. While gender quotas were generally adopted voluntarily by political part ies in Western Europe, in Latin America, gender quotas were more often imposed th rough national legislat ion on all political parties. (Franceschet and Krook 2006) The fo llowing chapter will discuss this method of increasing women’s political participation and note its effectiveness in particular types of electoral systems, as well as overall efficien cy in increasing women’s voice and interests in politics in Latin America.


45 Chapter 3: Quota Laws In the previous chapter I discussed va rious ways in which women’s social movements fought to advance th e rights of women, and some st ruggles that have yet to be resolved. While their most significant achievement was obtaining the right to vote (woman suffrage was granted first in Braz il (1934), El Salvador (1939), the Dominican Republic (1942), Guatemala (1945), Argentin a and Mexico (1946), and so on), this chapter will depict what I believe to be a nother important result of women’s organizing: the adoption of quota laws, which were in tended to increase women’s presence in political office in hopes of not only creat ing equality between the genders within government, but also resolve some of th e remaining struggles experienced by the women’s movements. The international Conventi on on the Elimination of A ll Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), enacted in 1979, de fines discrimination against women as “…any distinction, exclusion or restriction ma de on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on the ba sis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the politic al, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.” (UN 1997 – 2007) The Convention also stipulates states can adopt “special measures of temporary charac ter designed to accelerate th e de facto equality between men and women.” As Stromqui st notes, “this clause has doubtless served to support feminist demands for women’s electoral quotas. (Stromquist 2007, 103) Argentina was


46 the first to ratify CEDAW (followed by 11 other countries), and between 1990 and 2003, Latin America experienced a significant increas e in women’s presence in the legislatures (See table 1.1), thus indicating the remarkable positive change triggered by gender quota laws. Table 1.1 Trends in Women’s Political Participation in Latin America (By Percentage) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Lower House/ UnicameralSenate 1980 1990 2003 18 Latin American countries, including the Dominican Republic 1980 data not included for Chile, El Salvador and Honduras Sources: FLACSO, 2004; Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2004; IAD, 2001. Quotas in general signify a fre quently advocated scheme by which to address the severe underrepresenta tion of a particular group in the world's legislatures. For women, gender quota laws entail an assurance that the state will uphold a certain number or percentage of female members of a body, whet her it is a candidate list, a parliamentary assembly, a committee, or a government. In La tin America, and worldwide, one of the central objectives of women’s movements is access to decision-making power by way of these laws. “The quota laws… are the produc t of women’s movement demands at the national and international le vel of governments to take action to increase women’s participation in politics.” (Htun and Jone s in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 33) It was


47 assumed that increased levels of particip ation would allow women to influence policy making and to challenge the inequalities th at women currently confront in many areas, including among others politics, em ployment and education (Sun-uk, 1995). However, results of the laws do vary across the Latin American region. This chapter will define quota laws, depict how thei r application to different electoral systems makes them successful in some countries (inc reased women’s political participation by 5 or more percentage points) in some inst ances and unsuccessful (increased women’s political participation by less than 5 percenta ge points, did not increase women’s political participation, or decreased women’s political participation) in othe rs, and review support for and criticisms of the laws from the litera ture. I seek to demonstr ate that quota laws are successful if the party list is closed in a PR electoral system because voters have to select a party rather than individual candidates (thus women cannot be excluded), there are placement mandates (requiring parties to ra nk women candidates in high positions on closed party lists, thus ensuri ng their seat in the senate, s hould the party get elected), there is a moderate to large sized district magnitude (the higher the number of candidates in a district, the more likely quotas are to work because there ar e more opportunities for women to participate), there is good faith party compliance, and there are penalties associated with any failure to comply with the law. Quota Laws Defined Quota laws, or affirmative action to rem ove the obstructions for women to gain access to decision-making positions in the executive or legislative branches, consist of setting a percentage or minimum number of posts reserved for women, whether in government designated positions, or as candi dates on the election slates of political


48 parties. (Estrada 2006) The laws are se t in place to allow women a more equal opportunity to participate in al l areas of government (the exec utive, the legislature, and the judiciary), as well as in state bureaucra cies, and voice their opinions regarding gender issues. Quotas and other forms of positive measures are thus a means towards equality of result. The argument is based on the exper ience that equality as a goal cannot be reached by formal equal treatment as a means. If barriers exist, it is argued, compensatory measures must be introdu ced as a means to reach equality of result. (Dahlerup 2002, 3) Gender quota policies fall into three broa d categories: reserv ed seats, party quotas, and legislative quotas. They vary in terms of their basic characteristics, the countries in which they appear, and the tim ing of their adoption. Reserved seats are policies, used mostly in Africa, Asia, a nd the Middle East, that set aside spaces for women in political assemblies. In this wa y, they guarantee women’s presence by revising the mechanisms of election to command a mini mum number of female representatives. This proportion is often very low, as some rese rved seats policies manda te as little as one or two percent of all seats. Party quotas are measures adopted voluntarily by political parties to require a certain proportion of wo men among their parties’ candidates. Given their origins with political pa rties, these quotas differ from reserved seats in that they concern slates of candidates rather than the final proportion of women elected. They generally mandate a much higher proportion of women, usually betw een twenty-five and fifty percent of all candidates. First adopt ed in the early 1970s by various left-wing parties in Western Europe, party quotas are the most common type of gender quota today, appearing in parties ac ross the political spectr um and in all regions of the world. (Krook 2007, 2)


49 In Latin America, some political parties use the quota systems in their procedures for selecting internal posts. Examples include : The Partido de la Revolucin Democrtica and the Partido Revolucionario Institucional of Mexico; The Parti do Socialista, Partido por la Democracia, and Partido Demcrata Cris tiano of Chile; The Partido Unidad Social Cristiana of Costa Rica; The Partido dos Trab alhadores of Brazil; Accin Democrtica of Venezuela; Frente Farabundo Ma rt para la Liberacin Naci onal of El Salvador; and Frente Sandinista de Liberacin Nacional of Nicaragua. (Peschard, 2002) These Party quotas also frequently coexist with legisla tive quotas in Latin America, where party quotas predate or accompany the adopti on of more encompassing quota laws. Legislative quotas are measures passed by national parliaments that require all parties to nominate a certain proportion of fe male candidates. Similar to party quotas, they address selection processes, rather than the number of women actually elected. However, unlike party quotas, they are mandato ry provisions that apply to all political groupings, rather than simply those who c hoose to adopt quotas. Legislative quotas typically call for women to constitute be tween twenty-five and fifty percent of all candidates. They are the newest type of ge nder quota, appearing first in the early 1990s, but have become increasingly common as more and more countries adopt quota policies. (Krook 2007, 2) There are two prominent forms of quota la ws in Latin America: compulsory and indicative. Compulsory quota laws yield that the “set aside for wome n” percentage must be allocated in a certain way in the lists of both principal and alternate candidates, specifying alternation and seque ncing (e.g., at least one of ev ery three candidates must be a woman). This provides for sanctions in the event that the positions are not covered in


50 the manner established. Countries that have compulsory quota laws include: Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. In these c ountries, the lists of parties that do not meet the quota are not registered. Indicative quota laws establ ish a percentage without sp ecifying how it is to be met. The political party leadership is given a wide margin of discretion for placing the women candidates in any place on the lists, if not in the space for the alternates. Countries that have indicativ e quota laws include: Brazil, Mexico, Panama and Peru. The laws in these countries do not specify th e precise placement of women on the lists. (Peschard, 2002) Successful vs. Unsuccessful Quota Laws In Latin America, quotas have boosted women’s presence in congress by an average of five percentage points. This resu lt, though notable, hides the variation in the effects of quotas across countries. The success of quota laws has been more apparent in some countries than others. As the table be low will illustrate, in Argentina, women’s political participation rose from about 6 to about 27 percent, but in Brazil, women’s participation actually dec lined after the quota.


51 Table 1.2 Women’s Political Participation in Latin America (Before and After Quotas) Country Year Adopted Legislative Body Quota % % Women (before law) % Women (after law) Argentina 1991 House of Representatives 30 6 27 Bolivia 1997 House of Representatives Senate 30 25 11 4 12 4 Brazil 1997 House of Representatives 30 7 6 Costa Rica 1997 House of Representatives 40 14 19 Dominican Republic 1997 House of Representatives 25 12 16 Ecuador 1997 House of Representatives 20 4 15 Mexico 1996 House of Representatives Senate 30 30 17 15 16 16 Panama 1997 House of Representatives 30 8 10 Paraguay 1996 House of Representatives Senate 20 20 3 11 3 18 Peru 1997 House of Representatives 25 11 20 Venezuela (pre-2000) 1998 House of Representatives Senate 30 30 6 8 13 9 Source: Inter-American Dialogue. 2001. Women and Power in the Americas. A Report Card Washington, D.C.: Inter-American Dialogue. The variation of results in the different countries conveys that there must be a difference in the application of the quota laws that affects the effectiv eness of the laws in a particular country. This disp arity can be explained by what type of electoral system a country has (PR systems being the more symp athetic to quota laws, by whether the party list is open or closed (with the latter most effective) in a PR electoral system, the existence of placement mandates (requiring pa rties to rank women candidates in high positions on closed party lists), the size of the district magnitude (the higher the number of candidates in a district, the more li kely quotas are to work), good faith party compliance, and penalties associ ated with any failure to co mply with the law. (Norris 2004, 197) Table 1.3 indicates the method of app lication used by the countries in Latin America.


52 Table 1.3 Applications of Quota Laws in Latin America Country % of Quota Electoral System Placement Mandate Average District Magnitude Argentina 30 PR: Closed-list Yes 5 Bolivia 30 Mixed (PR and singlemember districts) Yes 7 Brazil 25 PR: Open-list No 20 Costa Rica 40 PR: Closed-list No in 1997; Yes since 1999 7 The Dominican Republic 25 PR: Open-list No 5 Ecuador 20 PR: Open-list No 6 Mexico 30 Mixed (PR and singlemember districts) No 40 Paraguay 20 PR: Closed-list Yes 4 Peru 30 PR: Open-list No 5 Sources: Htun, Mala N., and Mark P. Jones. 2002. "Engendering the Right to Participate in Decisionmaking: Electoral Quotas and Women's Leadership in Latin America." In Gender and the Politics of Rights and Democracy in Latin America ed Nikki Craske and Maxine Molyneux. New York: Palgrave; Htun, Mala N. 2002. “Women, Political Parties a nd Electoral Systems in Latin America” in Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers Stockholm, Sweden: International IDEA. Electoral Systems: Majoritarian vs Proportional Representation Electoral systems are the apparatuses by which the preferences of citizens are converted into seats in representative instit utions. Each system of voting places different demands on voters and offers different opportu nities for strategy to affect the winner. Different electoral systems may give very different results, particularly in cases where there is no clear majority preference. Most importantly, the way in which an electoral system translates votes into seats in el ected assemblies may in fluence the degree of public support for the democratic system its elf. Thus, their impact on a whole range of elements that make up the political nature of a society is extr emely significant. Two major types of electoral systems are em ployed in Latin America and in other


53 representative democracies: ma joritarian systems and propor tional representation systems (also known or referred to as PR). The di fferences between the two have a tremendous impact on the level of the quot a law’s success in a country. Majoritarian electora l systems, also known as majority systems, are designed to encourage responsible a singleparty government by awarding the greatest representation to the two leading parties with the most votes ; a candidate or party receiving the largest number of votes receives the seat (or seats) in a district. Proportional electoral systems, on the other hand, aim to produce comprehe nsive and consensual power sharing by generating parliaments that reflect the vote sh ares of various partie s. (Norris 2004, 4) As Table 1.3 indicated, most Latin American countri es have a PR partylist electoral system. Therefore, for this analysis I will describe the differences between the two types of electoral systems and illustrate how having a PR system (specifically a closed-list one), rather than a majority system, is more beneficial for the success of quota laws. Majoritarian Electoral Systems In majority systems, the winning candidates are those that have attracted the most votes (the “majority”) in a given electoral district. “Majority” is normally defined as 50%-plus-one-vote. If no candidate gets a ma jority of votes, then a second round of voting is held. Majority systems typically rely on single-member constituencies, and allow voters to specify only one prefer ence on their ballot. In single-member constituencies, only one member can win each constituency, which therefore means the number of votes won nationally does not equal the number of seats in the parliament. For example, a party which wins 50% + 1 of th e vote in all constituencies will win 100% of seats, but only 50% +1 of votes. The majority system, with relation to democracy, is


54 interpreted as government by the majority of th e people; however, the effect of a majority system is that the larger parties gain a di sproportionately large allocation of the vote, while smaller parties are left with an unreasonably small allocation of the vote. For advocates of majority electoral systems, responsible party government takes priority over the inclusion of all parties in st ringent fraction to their share of the vote. On the other hand, advocates of proportional syst ems argue that other considerations are more important, including the fairness of the outcome for minor parties and the representation of minority social groups. Where majority systems accentuate governability, proportional systems focus on th e inclusion of minor ity voices. (Norris 1997, 4)This is very important for the effectiveness of quota laws, due to the fact the quota laws indicate the underrepresentation of marginal groups, in this case, women. Proportional Representation Electoral Systems The basic type of electoral system gr eatly influences opportunities for women elected in office; they generally are more successful in being nominated and elected under proportional electoral systems. PR sy stems are the most widely used set of electoral systems in the world. They attempt to make the percentage of seats awarded to candidates reflect as closely as possible the perc entage of votes that they received in the election, in the hope that assemblies a nd governments will accurately reflect the preferences of the electorate. In a PR system, parties make lists of candidates to be elected and parliamentary seats are then allo cated according to the proportion of votes the party receives. (Norris 2004, 50) Voters may vot e directly for the party, or they may vote for candidates and that vote will pool to the party. The basic principles underlying proportional representation elections are that all voters deserv e representation and that all


55 political groups in society dese rve to be represented in propor tion to their strength in the electorate. Due to the nature of PR systems, they rely on multi-member districts as opposed to single-memb er districts. There are many problems that electoral systems face when trying to increase women representation in Parliament. Fo r example, there are no geographical concentrations that could form the foundati on for women’s constituencies, and as long as voting is tied to localities, no women ca ndidate can sincerely present herself as representing women alone. Als o, at the practical level, th e choice between supporting a woman because she is a woman and supporti ng a man who seems closer to your views constantly presents itself. (Phillips, 1991) These problems are less important in proportional systems, where each region ha s a certain number of deputies allowing women and men represent the sa me are at the same time. Countries that employ PR are rated as somewhat more democratic today than countries using majority electo ral systems. They are also ra ted as having stronger record of democratic consolidation during the last thirty years. (Norris 2004, 30) In Latin America, where democratic consolidation in cludes the development of public sympathy towards gender equality, PR systems allow parties have significant motivation to develop a balanced ticket of legislat ive candidates in order to avoid any electoral penalties from the appearance of sex discrimination. This incenti ve is absent in candi date-ballots used in single-member districts in majority electoral systems, where each local party can select the default option of a male candidate without any collective respons ibility for balancing the social profile of candidates as national level. (ibid, 258-259)


56 PR systems are of two basic types: part y list systems and single transferable vote systems. In theory, positive action policies can be adopted under any electoral system, however, they are put into practice most eas ily when applied to balancing the gendered framework of PR party lists. (ibid, 207-208) Under party list systems, voters in an electoral district choose fr om various candidates put forward by a range of parties competing in an election. When the votes ar e counted, each party is entitled to seat the number of members from its list that corresponds to its allocation of the popular vote. There are two major and important variations of Party List systems, usually defined as closed list and open list elections: i.e. the order in which the party's list candidates get elected may be pre-determined by some method internal to the party (a closed list system such as the one in Argentina) or they may be determined by the voters at large (an open list system such as the one in Brazil). The type of party list, whether it is clos ed or open, is highly significant for the success of a quota law. When party lists are cl osed, political parties present a rank-order list of candidates in each of the multimember districts where they are contesting seats. Voters can only select which party to suppor t and the rank order of the candidates on the party list determines who is elected to pa rliament; candidates positioned highest on this list tend to always get a seat in the parlia ment while the candidates positioned very low on the closed list will not. A major advantag e of closed list systems, when used in together with gender quotas and placement mandates, is that when combined with adequate enforcement of compliance, they guarantee a minimum floor of women's representation across all parties/districts. Fo r example, in counties such as Argentina (where a closed list, placement mandates, and strict compliance are in force), we can be


57 certain that if a party wins three seats in a district, at least one of the seats will be occupied by a women. (Jones 2007, 24) An open party list allows vot ers to express a preference for particular candidates, not just parties. It is designe d to give voters some say over the order of the list and thus which candidates get elected. “In an open-li st system, there is a fierce intra-party competition in addition to the inter-party co mpetition.” (Htun and Jones in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 37) In contrast to closed list systems, open list systems provide no guarantee that a woman will occupy at least one of the seats that a party wins. Thus, while in some districts women will do quite we ll electorally, in others they do quite poorly, even when their party wins a subs tantial number of seats. (Jones 2007, 24) Placement Mandates When a party wins an election, it does not automatically mean th at all women that appear on the ballot will ente r into office, even in a cl osed list system. Reason being, these women may have been ranked in low positions on the closed party lists. The existence of placement mandates, which requir e parties to rank women candidates in high positions on closed party lists, is thus crucial for the incorporation of women into politics. Without a placement mandate, women’s posi tions on the lists depend on whether the party elites who principally de cide the composition of the pa rty lists are more or less favorable to the election of women. If th ey are less favorable, not having enforced placement mandates allows parties to continuously place women in the bottom list positions. Several quota laws have been amended, or today are drafted, with placement mandates specifying which positions wo men are to hold on electoral lists.


58 One example of a country with placemen t mandates in a closed list party system is Argentina. In Argentina the placement ma ndate is based on the past electoral success of the political party in the district. In practice, unless th e party has historically won a number of seats of three or more (in a larg e district magnitude), one of the first two candidates must be a woman at the minimu m. Subsequent seats on the list must be allocated using a similar logic such that the pe rcentage of electable li st positions held by women candidates corresponds to the quota pe rcentage. As a result of the placement mandate, 34 percent of the representatives elected in 2003 were women. (Dahlerup, 151) Bolivia has also instituted placement mandate s; however, the Bolivian Chamber system is less complex, requiring that at the minimum every third person on the party list be a woman. (Jones 2007, 27-28) District Magnitude One of the most important factors is the electoral system’s ability to translate votes cast into seats won proporti onally. Determining this is to a large extent the district magnitude, which is the number of members to be elected in each electoral district. In Paraguay, the relative success of the quota law in the Senate election of 1998 was a result of Paraguay’s large district magnitude, comb ined with a one-in-five placement mandate. This combination made it possible for women that were placed low on the list to get elected. (Htun and Jones in Craske and Mo lyneux 2002, 42) In a district magnitude, the higher the number of candidates in a district, the more likely quotas are to work in that more seats are allocated to the larger dist ricts and thus, women that have been placed lower on party lists still have th e opportunity to gain a seat in the parliament or senate once the party is elected.


59 The district magnitude also has an impact on political parties, candidates, and campaigning. Small district magnitude, for example, fosters stronger links between individual candidates and their local constituencies. This w ould be beneficial to women in that it would allow the voters a chance to know them as candidates, hear their platforms, and develop personal connections which may influence their voting. On the other hand, large districts give a stronger proportionality, and when more persons are elected from one district, wome n who may not have otherwise received the majority vote, have more of an opportunity to participate in politics. Large districts also incr ease party magnitude, which is the number of representatives from one political party elec ted from the district. The increase in party magnitude tends to affect candidate selection by political parties. If the party magnitude is large, it is more likely that the legislature will consist of members from different ethnic and social groups, and both sexes. Parties will feel that they can win the most seats by presenting a wider variety of candidates. (Ellis, Kennedy, Larserud, Reilly, Reynolds, and Tjernstrm 2006) Party Compliance Whether a quota system achie ves its goal of fair repres entation largely depends upon good faith party compliance, and governme nt enforcement of sanctions for noncompliance. For example, in Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, the list s of parties that do not meet the quota are simply not register ed. (Peschard 2002) By not allowing parties who do not meet the set quotas to be register ed, these countries are enforcing parties to place women on their lists and thus allowing women an equal opportunity for political participation. “However, there are mechanisms to evade the law, for example in Brazil


60 (the text of the law and the statistical techni calities make it possible for parties to present lists without women candidates) and in Boliv ia (where male candidates have run under women’s names).” (Inter-American Deve lopment Bank 2004, 48) Still, overall, compliance with the quota legislation ha s been generally goo d throughout the region, although as is the case with most laws in th e region, some non-compliance has occurred on occasion and the interpretation of the laws sometimes disputed. (Jones 2007, 28) Support for and Criticisms of Quota Laws Although there are different types of quota la ws, some more efficient than others, overall, their establishment has increased women’s political participation in Latin America. The enactment of the quotas in th e 12 Latin American countries illustrates a step towards gender equality and democracy. Quota laws increased the share of women in parliament by an average of 8 percent fo r the region as a whole. (Smith 2005, 251) Marcela Ros is one of the authors of the study "Gender Quotas: Democracy and Representation," published in June by the La tin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), with the support of the Interna tional Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Rios states that "in general, quotas have worked well in Latin America. They have significantly accelerated the presence of women in parliament, particularly when the quota laws have been well thought out." (Estrada 2006) Other quota law researchers, such as Mi ki Caul, note that quotas for women candidates are a visible method for parties to demonstrate support for women’s issues. As such, quotas may be more a fi gurative gesture and less an ex pression of real support for women. However, Caul also not es that this gesture, alt hough initially designed for one end, can often have unintended consequences, and formal rules can turn into norms,


61 reinforcing the changing attitudes toward s women in politics. Once women are in positions of power, it may become more difficu lt to exclude them in the future. (Caul 2001, 1226) Htun and Jones develop two arguments re garding the effects of quotas on the election of women and on gender related policy results: (1) quota laws have been only slightly successful in escalating women’s presence in legislatures; (2) there is preliminary proof indicating that when quotas work, wome n’s greater presence in politics serves to alter the conditions of legisl ative debates. (Htun and Jone s in Craske and Molyneux 2002, 32) Establishing certain percen tages does not mean that women candidates are actually in a position to translate the per centage of candidates into a si milar percentage of seats. Experience shows that the provision can be re spected without respecting its spirit, since women are placed at the bottom of the lists of principal candidates, or as alternates, where they have little if any possibility of getting elected. (Peschard 2002, 3) Another criticism of the quota laws are wo men’s political alliances and agendas. Though there may be a certain number of wome n in the congress due to the quota laws, these women may not reflect the political agenda of the majority of the women that they are representing. Gender issues may not be the first priority of mo st women elected to public office. (Htun and Jones 2002, 48) Party loyalty is another reason why there has been a failure to produce changes with rega rds to all of women’s concerns. Though the quota laws have made advances for women in the decision-making process, these women may not uphold all that is expected of th em by the female population which they are representing.


62 Htun and Jones also exemplify an importa nt point regarding the effect and the fairness of these quota laws on the male popul ation. The authors not e that the “adoption of the quota law in most countries never posed a major threat to the aspirations of male politicians”, and thus they passed relativ ely smoothly in the 1996-2000 period. (ibid, 43) Many males supported quotas because they were embarrassed by the low levels of women’s representation in their countries, they desired the support of women, and they needed to meet commitments outlined in international agreements. (ibid, 35) However, if one of the goals of quota laws is to create fairness and equa lity in the decision-making process, an argument can be made that it would be unfair for women to be granted a certain number of seats in congress, wh en men are not given the same luxury. Lastly, quota laws alone may not be enough to increase women’s political participation and also voice the demands of women’s social move ments. A country’s governmental institutions need to be altered to meet the objectives of the quota laws and that the quotas alone do not ensu re an increase in the politi cal participation of women. (Estrada 2006) Conclusion Overall, the effectiveness of quota laws depends on how they are outlined and put into practice. If the quota laws are not tailor ed to a country’s electoral system, applied rigorously by political parties, and enfor ced by the government, they will produce few results for women. However, “when quota laws work, women have an equal chance to participate.” (Htun and Jones 2002, 51) The enactment of the quotas in the 12 Latin American countries illustrates a step to wards gender equality and democracy. The following chapter highlights the case studies of Argentina and Brazil to illustrate how the


63 differences in the drafting and implementi ng of the quota laws have produced successful results in increasing women’s political partic ipation in some countries, but unsuccessful in others. Using these two case studies, along with two other examples from Latin America, Chapter 4 will also illustrate how quota laws have produced varied results throughout the region overall and demonstrate that while they can be seen as an overall success in achieving an increase in women’s political particip ation in Latin America, they have produced little advancements for the women’s movements and feminist agenda when it comes to improving the overall quality of life for women and achieving equality between the genders.


64 Chapter 4: Case Studies of Quota Laws in Latin America In the previous chapter I made the hypothesis that in order for quota laws to be successful a PR electoral system with party lists needs to be in place as opposed to a majority electoral system, the party list of the PR system needs to be closed, there need to be placement mandates that require parties to rank women candidates in high positions on closed party lists, the district magnitude needs to be of moderate to la rge size so that there are more candidates in the district, there needs to be good faith party compliance, and government enforced penalties associated with any failure to comply with the law. I define a successful quota law as one which had increased women’s political presence in legislatures by 5 or more percentage poi nts in the immediate election after their ratification, and an unsuccessful quota la w as one which only increased women’s political participation by less th an 5 percentage points, did no t increase participation, or decreased participation. The fo llowing chapter tests this hypot hesis through an analysis of four Latin American countries. Quota laws have been passed in twelve Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. Afte r researching all 12 countries I have found that Argentina is the best example of a su ccessful quota law in that women’s political presence in legislatures increased by 21% afte r the law was put in pl ace, and Brazil best exemplifies an unsuccessful case in that women’s political participation dropped a percentage point immediately after the la w was put in place. However, although the


65 literature and data reveal Argentina as su ccess when it comes to the implementation of gender equity in political repr esentation, there rema ins to be a discrepancy regarding how much gender equity within the political syst em has actually transformed social realities outside of the political system. The data fr om both Argentina and Brazil indicates that while quota laws have effected women’s politic al presence one way or another, they have had little success in increasing the formati on of public policies that benefit women. Using Argentina and Brazil as my main case studies, I will test my hypothesis from the previous chapter, re garding the apparatuses needed in order to make a quota law successful, and also illustrate how increasing women’s political participation may not necessarily lead to public policy reformation that is in accordance with the demands of the feminist agendas and women’s movement s. I will begin by presenting and brief history of the each country and depict how th e on-goings at specific points in history led to the development of feminism and the wo men’s movements. I w ill than describe the type of government in each country and how the quota law was applied to it. I will conclude these two case studies with the results of the quota laws and the possible reasoning for these outcomes. Since Argentina and Brazil fall at opposite ends of the spectrum (Argentina’s law being very successful and Brazil’s being unsu ccessful when it was first implemented), I will describe two other cases in Latin Ameri ca to demonstrate the regional variation of the countries that fall in between the two pol ar ends. Lastly, I will provide a critique for my own hypothesis and estab lished conclusions by testing the internal and external validity of my study, and depict how my research is limited due to the lack of information available.


66 Argentina Conservative forces dominated Argentin e politics through non-democratic means until around 1910, when Roque Saenz Pena Lahi tte took office. In 1912, he passed Law 8831, known as "Senz Pea Law", which greatly altered the Argentine electoral system by making the vote secret, universal, and compul sory for males. The law and his rule put an end to electoral fraud and created a path for the rise of the Ra dical Civic Union. In 1916 a radical by the name of Juan Hiplito del Sagrado Corazn de Jess Irigoyen Alem (also known as Hipolito Yrigoye n) won control of the first free-elected government. Yrigoyen was extremely popular with the middl e class and he kept Argentina out of World War I, thus allowing it to profit from the high beef prices on the world market. Yet, his failure to deal with the calamity brought on by the worldwide depression caused his removal from office by an army coup led by Jos Flix Uriburu in 1930, leading to another decade of conservative rule. During this time, an am biance of increasing political conflict arose; there was conf rontation between right-wing fa scists, leftist radicals, and military-oriented conservatives controlling the government. The Argentine government of the 1930s tr ied to control the waves of economic and political change through th e use of fraud and force. This eventually led to the political ascendance of Juan Domingo Pern in 1946, who endeavored to empower the working class and greatly increase the numbe r of unionized workers. The wife of Peron, Eva (known as Evita), helped her husband de velop strength with labor and women's groups. Through her influence, in 1947 women obtained the right to vote. When they voted in 1951, 29 women were elected, constitu ting 18% of the Parliament. The result of such a high percentage is due to the pers onal force of Evita, who pressed for a quota


67 method that was applied to the electoral rosters of the prevailing Peronist party and which was intended to elect women from its feminine branch. (Feijo in Jaquette and Wolchick (eds) 1998, 31) Feminism and Women’s Movements As part of the latest wave of internati onal feminism and the establishment of the UN Decade for Women (1975-85), new groups app eared which were explicitly feminist. In Argentina, these groups included: the Argentine Fe minist Union, the Feminist Liberation Movement, and the Argentine Fe minist Organization. While some women endeavored to develop feminist organizations th at linked to or were within leftist political parties, such as the Popular Feminist Movement or the Gr oup of Socialist Women, others organized women’s fronts within the parties that, like the Evita Group within Peronist Youth, did not take a position on feminism but did start to el evate gender concerns. When a military junta established a regime based on state terrorism in March 1976, these groups, along with practically the whole population of th e country, were repressed. During the military’s Process of National Re-org anization, state terrorism resulted in the disappearance of an estimated thirty thousa nd people. (Feijo in Jaquette and Wolchick (eds) 1998, 32-33) During the years known as the Dirty War (1976-83), the organization of Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of the Pl aza de Mayo) was formed. This group was an association of Argentine mothers whos e children, spouses, or grandchildren "disappeared" under the military dictatorship of that time. The Argentine Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of the Plaza Mayo) were women who had not been active in politics before and who developed new forms of protest, including the wearing of white


68 scarves to symbolize the white doves of peace, that were extraordinary both in the ways that they politicized women’s identities as mothers and their effectiveness against the military’s claim to power (Jaquette 1994, 4) Af ter the military gave up its authority to a civilian government in 1983, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo have pushed the new government to aid in finding answers to th e kidnappings, murders, and disappearances that took place in the Dirty War years. The Mo thers have fought for the right to re-unite with their abducted children, and find and know abducted gr and children, for over three decades now. For many feminists, the Madres are exemplary because they redefined the arbitrary division between private and public (Feijo and Nari in Jaquette (ed) 1994, 125) Democracy was restored on October 30, 1983, when Argentines went to the polls to choose a new government through fair and ho nest elections. Ral Alfonsn, candidate of the Unin Cvica Radical (R adical Civic Union), received 52% of the popular vote for president. Alfonsn's Radical government t ook steps to account for the "disappeared", established civilian control of the armed forces, and consolid ated democratic institutions. During this time of democratic transitioning, the organized gr oups of activists recognized the significance of undertaking the fight agai nst gender discrimination in the context of reconstructing democracy. Women thus bega n their venture for ‘parity democracy’, developing practices and strate gies that would reach out to women as a whole, and promote greater gender awareness, with femi nist demands and new analyses of power. (Carrio 2002, 164) In 1985, Argentina ratified the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The Convention defines discrimination


69 against women as "...any dis tinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairi ng or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marita l status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental free doms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any othe r field." (UN 1997-2007) The 1980s ended with two other new advances: the Filiati on and Inheritance Stat ute (1985) and the Divorce Law (1987). These new juridical instruments brought women great er legal standing within the family and enabled them to control certain situations, su ch as de facto unions not contemplated in the previous legislation. In 1994, the Nationa l Constituent Convention incorporated the ratification of the CEDAW into the text of th e new constitution. One of the driving forces behind this achievement was the Corriente 8 de Marzo (8th of March Movement), which linked feminist militants from diverse sector s and lobbied legislators in the National Congress. (De Cicco and Ocampo, 2003) Government, Politics, and Implementation of Quota Laws The politics of Argentina ta ke place within the structur e of a federal presidential representative democratic republic. Argentina has a proportional representation by districts electoral system, a nd seats are divided among thos e lists of candidates from parties or electoral alliances that obtain at least 3% of th e electoral census or working electoral of the district. Ar gentina's two largest political parties are the Partido Justicialista (Justicialist Pa rty), which evolved out of Pern's efforts in the 1940s to expand the role of labor in th e political process, and the Unin Cvica Radical (Radical Civic Union), founded in 1891 and is the oldest existing political pa rty in Argentina.


70 Both the President and legislature are el ected to the Argentine government. Using a runoff voting system, the President and the Vi ce-President are elected in one ballot, for a four-year term, by direct popular vote. The National Congress is made up of two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies of the Nation and the Senate of the Nation. The Chamber of Deputies of the Nation has 257 memb ers, elected for a four-year term in each electoral district (23 Provinces and the Fe deral Capital) by propor tional representation, with half of the seats renewed every two year s in all districts, while the Senate of the Nation has 72 members, elected for a six-year term in three-seat constituencies (23 provinces and the Federal Cap ital) for a six year term, w ith two seats awarded to the largest party or coalition and one seat to the second larges t party or coalition. One-third of the electorates are re newed every two years. As in most Latin American countries, wo men have been grossly underrepresented in important elective and a ppointive political positions (Htun, 1998) In 1991, Argentina took a big step towards gender equality by be ing the first country in Latin America to introduce quota laws (Ley de Cupos), specify their placement, and provide for sanctions. The quota law in Argentina established that 30 percent of the candidate lists proposed by the political parties for the Ch amber of Deputies had to be women. The law also provides that women candidates must be positioned in proportions sufficient to get elected. In addition, in the National Elect oral Code, Law No. 24,012 provide s that no party list will be registered that does not have at least 30 percent women, and in electable positions. Results of Quota Law The use of a gender quota law has shown to have a significant positive impact on the percentage of women elected to the Argentine provincial legislatur es. The table below


71 illustrates the increase in the number of wo men elected to the Argentine Chamber of Deputies between 1983 and 2007 after the electio ns of 1993 (first election after the implementation of the law), the number of female deputies increased tremendously. Table 1.4 Proportion of Seats Held by Women in Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies; Period 1983-2007 Year Total Number of Seats Number of Women % Total 1983-85 254 13 5.1 1985-87 254 12 4.7 1987-89 254 14 5.5 1989-91 254 16 6.3 1991-93 257 16 6.2 1993-95 257 36 14.0 1995-97 257 65 25.3 1997-99 257 71 27.6 2000 257 72 28 2001 257 68 26.5 2002-04 257 79 30.7 2005 255 86 33.7 2006-07 257 90 35 *Note the significant increase duri ng the time that quota laws were put in place; 1991 1995. Sources: Cmara de Diputados de la Nacin Argentina; United Nations Statistics Division By 2002, Argentina had 30.7 per cent women representatives in the Chamber of Deputies and 35.2 per cent in the Senate In 2005, Argentina was among the top 15 ranked countries in the world after Rwa nda, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Cuba, Spain, Costa Rica, Mozambi que, Belgium and Austria in terms of the representation of women in th e national legislature. At pr esent, Argentina has several constitutional and statutory pr ovisions to ensure the necessary participation of women in politics, and, in particular, in the legislat ure. (Carrio, 164-165) Due to the issue of party compliance, women candidates have contes ted party lists, and now the National Women’s Council is also allowed to challenge parties’ non-complia nce with the law on the female candidate’s behalf, which reduces confrontation for th e candidate herself.


72 (Craske 1999, 72) Also, practica lly all the provinces of Arge ntina currently have a quota law regulating the elections of their respective legislatures, and that these laws also govern local councils. Thus, the utilization of a placement manda te in a close-list system proportional representation electora l system, party compliance, and sa nctions for those parties who do not comply, has allowed quota laws to work effectively to increase women’s political presence in the country. However, although their numbers and activ e participation in politics have expanded, Argentine women continue to face challenges. A numeric increase in women’s represen tation has not necessarily improved women’s agenda or their actual engagement in politics. While Argentina may look like a matriarchy due to its current female president, Cristina Fernndez, (her nearest challenger in the 2007 election was also a women, Elisa Carri), its quota law that stip ulates that 30 percent of th e candidates on party lists for Congress must be women (which has been met), and it’s place as the home to one of the world’s most prominent human-rights campaigne rs (the mothers and grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo), the prominence of women in politics has not led to many feminist policies. The statistics of the successfulness of the quota laws illustrate positive growth within the political spectrum; however, this doe s not negate the fact that women continue to be denied certain, basic rights – pa rticularly in lesser educated, underserved communities. Therefore, the Argentinean case demonstrates that while quota laws are important, as they have achieved their inte nded goal of increasing women’s political presence in the country’s legislatures, they are not necessarily enough to achieve gender equity. This responsibility falls not only on th e female political repres entatives that need


73 to produce more policies that enforce gender equality, but also on society to embrace these policies and to change political and cultural norms. Brazil provides an opposite case that allows us to gain more insight into what conditions limit a quota law’s level of success. Unlike Argentina, which experienced an increase in political participation after the implementation of the quota law, Brazil actually experienced a decrease immediately after the quota laws were ratified. As previous research indicates, this decrease wa s due to Brazil’s open-party list system and lack of enforcement by the government. Ho wever, the number of women in Brazil’s legislatures is slowly increas ing, which perhaps indicates a change in political norms or can be attributed to Brazil’ s robust feminist movement. Brazil Brazil declared its independence fr om Portugal on September 7, 1822, and became a constitutional monarchy, the Empi re of Brazil. On October 12, 1822, Dom Pedro I became the first Emperor of Brazil, but his government was considered economically and administratively inefficien t, and thus political pressures eventually made the Emperor step down on April 7, 1831. His son, Dom Pedro II, was crowned Emperor on July 23, 1840. Due to his young age of 9 at the time of his crowning, during the Emperor's childhood, a series of regents administered the government, in accordance with the Constitution. His government was highl ighted by a substantial rise in coffee exports, the War of the Triple Alliance, and the end of slave trade from Africa in 1865 (slavery in Brazilian territory would not be abolished till 1888). In the 1870s, in the face of crises with the Roman Catholic Church, the Army, and the slaveholders, the Emperor's grasp on domestic politics began to deteriorat e. The Republican movement slowly gained


74 strength; the empire fell due to a military coup d’tat because the dominant classes no longer needed it to protect th eir interests, and because the dominant classes deeply resented the abolition of sl avery. In 1889 Pedro II ste pped down, and the Republican system was adopted in the country. The c ountry has been nominally a democratic republic ever since, except for three pe riods of overt dictatorship (1930–1934; 1937–1945 and 1964–1985). Feminism and Women’s Movements During the last period of dictator ship (between 1964 and 1985), Brazil experienced repressive regimes and massive im poverishment along with the largest, most diverse, radical, and successful women's m ovement in Latin America. Popular women’s groups emerged during the 1960s and early 1970 s; these organizations were largely created through efforts by the Catholic Church to mobilize mothers’ clubs in community self-help efforts. (Tabak, 1994) The Intern ational Women’s Year of 1975 proclaimed by the United Nations also marked the appearance of several sma ll feminist groups in Rio de Janeiro and So Paulo, including th e Centro da Mulher Brasileri a. That year also saw the beginning of the Movimento Feminino pela Anis tia, which was not a feminist or womenoriented organization but a women’s amnesty mo vement seeking to release the clench of the military dictatorship imposed in 1964. (Hahner 1985, 164) During the transition from military to ci vilian rule, Brazilian social activities sought to combine their struggle for democracy with the struggle for so cial justice. They used the space opened up by the emergi ng democracy in the country, including opportunities presented in the process of drawing up the country’s constitution, to introduce issues of racial inequality, as well as gender inequality. (Lovell 2000, 85)


75 Originally, the feminist movement was cl osely connected to human rights movements and resistance to the military regime. The movement started out as small groups of women meeting in Brazil's largest cities to di scuss sexuality, feminist theory, and gender oppression. Women's movements grew in th e 1980s, when the Conselho Nacional de Direitos da Mulher (National Council on Wo men's Rights) was created. They then developed a large middle-class base and exte nsive connections to other popular women's movements of that time period. (Alvarez, 1990) Before the country’s transition to demo cracy in 1985, the civil code endorsed male authority in the family and banned divorce, while the criminal code forbade abortion and considered rape a crime agains t "custom," not agains t a person. Since 1985, the country has succeeded in changing many, but not all, of these old laws regulating gender relations and women's rights. (Ht un and Power, 2006) The attention of the women’s movements had shifted from resistan ce to the military regime to violence against women, especially domestic violen ce and sexual abuse and harassment. As a response to this situation, speci al police stations for women were created to facilitate the reporting, investigation, and pros ecution of cases of domestic violence and rape. These stations are largely staffed by women police o fficers who have been specially trained. In 1988, Brazil instituted a new Constitution, wh ich declared that men and women are equal; a new civil code revoked provisions upholding patriarchy in family. Women's movements also mobilized support for reproduct ive health and rights, as defined in the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo. (Lewis 1997)


76 In the 1990s, the feminist movement crea ted several national and international networks to advocate for women's rights, including: organizations serving women's health, education, and legal needs; art and media groups; women's studies programs; women's labor union associations; and popular feminism, which was organized by poor and working-class women in order to combine work on class and gender. In recent times, black women's organizations are challenging th e interlocking oppressions of race, class, and gender oppressions. (Alvarez 1990). Within southern Brazil, the Movement for Rural Women Workers (MMTR) is one of the fastest growing women’s moveme nts in the country. The movement has its roots in a strong opposition organized in rura l labor unions and in the Landless Workers Movement, or in Portuguese Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), with ties to the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT, Worker’s Party) It began in 1989 and grew out of women’s activism in various ma ss movements that flamed across Brazil in the wake of the 1986 military takeover. Such movements included: the land-recovery movements, anti-dam movements, labor uni ons, and church based organizations. The original agenda of the movement was proc uring equal working conditions and benefits for rural women, but like other movements in the region, it has switche d its attention to reproductive health rights, domestic violence, representation of women in the political system, and general women’s rights. (Stephen 1997, 209) MMTR provides various services fo r women, including gender-awareness workshops on nonsexist education, abortion righ ts, and methods of preventing violence against women. In 1994, the MMTR was successful in obtaining maternity leave for rural workers, and also introduced bills that made health care a nd family planning available at


77 the local level. The MMTR has not only organized remarkable numbers of women locally, but has participated in several nati onal campaigns to win legal rights for rural women and, in 1995, worked with rural women’ s organizations from all seventeen states in Brazil to form a national coordinating body. (ibid, 4) The Brazilian Federation of Feminine Progress, also known as the Brazilian Federation for the Advancement of Women, was a national organization that successfully fought for women’s suffrage in Brazil. Due to the efforts of the FBPF, a 1932 civil code extended the vote to women under the same conditions as men. Yet, women's political representation in Brazil rema ins to be extremely low. Although Brazilian women had obtained the right to vote in 1932, progress to wards gender equality is slow in the country, as this right was obtai ned 51 years after the procla mation of the republic and of the qualified male vote. “This fact is freque ntly considered a reas on for their late entry into politics and one of the causes of the ex isting asymmetry in relation to the political participation of women.” (Arajo 2003, 2) Government, Politics, and Implementation of Quota Laws Like Argentina, the politics of Brazil take place in a framework of a federal presidential representative democratic repub lic. The Brazilian Federation is based on the relationship of three autonomous political entities: the Stat es, the Municipalities and the Federal District; there is no hierarchy among the political entities. The States are semiautonomous self-governing entities organized wi th complete administration branches and relative financial independence. Despite their relative autonomy, they all have the same model of government, as set by the Constitution. States hold elections every four years and implement a significant amount of power. The Municipalities are territories which


78 comprise one urban area, and several other mi nor urban or rural areas. Like the State, a Municipality is relatively autonomous; it is allowed to have its own constitution, to collect taxes and fees, to uphold a municipa l police force, to pass laws (that do not disagree with either the state or the national constitution), and to create symbols for itself (ex. flag, anthem, and coat-of-arms). The Fede ral District is an irregular unit of the federation; it is not structur ed in the same way as a Muni cipality, does not hold the same independence as a state, and is closely correla ted to the central power It is considered a single Municipality, comprised of a seat (B rasilia) and some urban districts known as “satellite cities”. Satellite ci ties are established and governed directly by the governor of the federal district and have no true identity. Since its independence Brazil has experime nted with various electoral systems: single and multimember districts, and proporti onal representation with various formulas. Currently, Brazil uses a mix of both a ma joritarian and proportional representation electoral system. There are four types of majority elections: the president, governors, and mayors, who are elected by absolute majoritie s, and the senators, which are elected to represent each of the twenty-six states and the Federal District by simple majorities. Brazil uses an open-list propor tional representation system to elect federal and state deputies and city council members. The magnitude of the districts varies according to the size of the electorate, but each state has a minimum of eight and a maximum of 70 representatives. The country ha s a multi-party system, with such an abundant amount of parties, that often no one part y has a chance of gaining power alone; they must work with each other to form coalition governments. Ther e are four prominent political parties: The Workers' Party (PT), The Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), The Brazilian


79 Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), and Th e Democrats (formerly Liberal Front Party PFL). While the PFL and PSDB parties are critical of the government's social and economic policies, the Catholic Church, MST, labor unions, and women’s movements pressure the government for more intense reforms on taxation, landed property, and gender sensitive public policies. Despite the fact that Brazilian women had been very active in grassroots politics for a number of years, the number of fe male representatives in the government was/remains extremely low. The debate on the adoption of quotas as a means of increasing the presence of women in political institutions and party leaderships began in the late 1980s. The Labour Democratic Party (PDT) and the Worker’s Party (PT) were the first to discuss and adopt a form of quotas in their national and regional directories. Since then, other parties, mainly from the left, have followed suit. The first formal proposal for quotas was approved in 1995. It wa s presented that year by a member of the Chamber of Deputies, Marta Suplicy (PT), a nd dealt only with legislative seats in municipal districts. (Arajo 2003) In 1996 Brazil joined other Latin American countries in adopting mandatory quotas for lists of proportional representation candidacies. In 1998, mandatory quotas began to be applie d at the federal an d regional levels. The first experience of the laws invo lved the Chamber of the Council, the equivalent of local legislative power, and es tablished that parties must reserve a 20% minimum of slots for female candidates. The percentage was than ra ised to 25% in 1998, and then to 30% (with a maximum of 70% of slots for candidates of one sex) in 2000. By 2002 the law had been used three times, tw ice in municipal elections (1996 and 2000) and once in national elections (1998). (Htun 2002) Unlike Argentina, which uses a


80 closed-list PR system, Brazil elects memb ers of its Chamber of Deputies through a system of open-list proportional representation: voters usually cast votes for an individual candidate, rather than for a party list. The system generates competition among candidates of the same party and women te nd to be defeated. (Htun and Jones, 2002) Brazil's electoral rules also differ from the closed-list system of Argentina in that placement mandates, requiring the staggering of women and men on party lists, are not enforced; the law did not establish penaltie s for noncompliance, and very few parties actually live up to it. In the absence of these enforcement and support mechanisms, increasing the proportion of wo men who hold public office in Brazil continues to be an intangible goal. Results of Quota Laws The results of the law have mostly been unsatisfactory at the national level. In fact, the number of women in Brazil’s National Parliament actually decreased immediately after the im plementation of the quota. (See Table 1.5 below) Table 1.5 Proportion of Seats Held by Women in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies; Period 1990, 19972007 Year Total Number of Seats Number of Women % Total 1990 487 26 5.3 1997-98 513 34 6.6 1999-01 513 29 5.7 2002 513 35 6.8 2003-06 513 44 8.6 2007 513 45 8.8 *Note the subtle yet significant decr ease in the number of women during the time when quota laws were put in place; 1998-1999 Sourcs: United Nations Statistics Division


81 The discrepancy in the details of the quota la w is the reason for the unprogressive results. While the law requires parties to reserve 30% of candidate slots for women, it does not demand that they fill those slots, and it al so permits parties to present 50% more candidates than seats. Since Brazilian electoral law allows par ties to postulate 50% more candidates than seats being contested in a state, a party can in practice propose a full slate without including any women. For example if a state elects 10 members to congress, each party is permitted to postulate 15 candidates. The quota law requires that parties reserve four of thes e slots for women. If a party is unwilling to recruit women, it may thus propose 11 male candidates to the electorate and still not violate the law This loophole in the quota law helps explain why the number of women candidates has remained low. (Htun 2002, 119) Like other Latin American countries, Braz il undertook reforms to better the rates of female political participation. Howeve r, that endeavor in creased their quota percentages without making the necessary change s to additional fixes, such as placement mandates and/or penalties for noncompliance. This made secondand third-round quota laws quantitatively ineffective. The example of Brazil illustrates the need to draft quota laws carefully with more specific regulations, such as placement mandates, that will force parties to not only place women on their party lists, but to pla ce them at the top of those lists where they would have the opport unity to be elected into office. Yet, although women’s political presen ce in the legislatures experienced a decrease after the initial implementation of the quota law, the numb er of women in the Chamber of Deputies is slowly increasi ng and women in Brazil are making other advancements. As the result of an extensiv e process of consultation and discussion, in which key women's organizations played a cruc ial role, Brazilian President Luiz Incio Lula da Silva signed a new law on Domes tic and Family Violence against Women on August 7, 2006. Brazil's Federal Law 11340, also called Lei Maria da Penha (Maria da


82 Penha Law) aims to combat domestic violence It changed the Brazilian Penal Code to increase punishment for those who practice said crime, and it's notable for being the first Brazilian federal law that includes the term "sexual orientation". However, the necessary funding to carry out the law is not there. The Lula governme nt, after the endorsement of the law, cut 30% of the fundi ng designated to the fight against violence against women for 2007. (Barros 2007) Still, wome n continue to fight for righ ts in the areas of basic human and sexual rights. The case of Brazil illustrates how the app lication of quota laws to an open-party list system (that essentially doe s not allow for placement mand ates), and the lack of law enforcement produces unsuccessful results for increasing women’s political presence. Ironically, in Brazil where quota systems failed initially and where wo men continue to be underrepresented in the political system (even though their numbers are steadily increasing), gender equity is more advanced at the broader societal level. Perhaps this is due to Brazil’s incredibly active feminist a nd women’s movements, thus meaning that in Brazil, quota laws may not be the answer to achieving gender equality. While quotas may have worked in other countri es to increase women’s politic al presence, Brazil’s women’s movements should perhaps endeavor on a differe nt path and should be more proactive in increasing their own participati on rates in order to encourage the government to establish more public policies that enforce gender equality. Other Examples from Latin America Since Argentina and Brazil fall at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to level of success in increasing women’s polit ical participation through the enactment of quota laws, I feel that it is n ecessary to demonstrate the region al variation of the countries


83 that fall between the two polar ends. For this reason, I will depict the countries of Ecuador and Paraguay to illustrate that while certain structural elements of government, such as type of party list system, placement mandates, and size of electoral district, may increase (or reduce) the chance of a quota la w being successful, they are not necessarily essential in every case. As th e case of Ecuador will demonstrate, quota laws can work in an open-party list system, and as Paraguay w ill demonstrate, having a closed-party list system and placement mandates does not lead to immediate and extraordinary success. Ecuador In Latin America, women first won rec ognition as citizens in Ecuador in 1929. The Ecuadorian constitution of 1929 was the fi rst in Latin America to give literate women the right to vote. The Ecuadorian wo men’s movements of the early 1980s focused on proposing legislation that w ould be favorable to women, however they did not take into account the ethnic and cultural reality or the growi ng need for gender-sensitive approaches. At that time, it was thought that a change in legislation would translate into concrete and immediate results in the act ual situation of women. (Pacari, 72) Although experience in the country has il lustrated otherwise, Ecuador c ontinues to have one of the most advanced quota laws; it is the only one that requires electoral candidacy lists to include women sequentially and in alternati on with men until the quot a has been fulfilled. (Preschard 2002, 1-5) The quota began in 1998 when the members of the National Constitutional Assembly amended the constitution (article 9 on the electoral system) to incorporate a proportional representation (PR) system with open lists. Th e quota was first set at 30% and was required to increase by 5% in each election until the goal of 50% is achieved.


84 According to the data presented by the United Nations Statistics Division, the percentage of women in Ecuador’s National Parliament increased by 13.7% immediately after the quota laws were put in place, and than d ecreased thereafter until 2007. (See Table 1.6 below) However, other research reveal s possible inconsistencies in the data.8 Table 1.6 Proportion of Seats Held by Women in Ecuador’s National Parliament; Period 1990, 19972007 Year Total Number of Seats Number of Women % Total 1990 67 3 4.5 1997-98 82 3 3.7 1999-00 121 21 17.4 2001-02 123 18 14.6 2003-06 100 16 16 2007 100 25 25 Source: United Nations Statistics Division In 2002, just months away from national elections, the president of Ecuador’s electoral tribunal tried to change the progr essive legislation ad opted in 1998. (Rohter 2003) Under such threat, Ecuador’s women’ s movement mobilized the project “Red Alert!” In June 2002, the quota law’s reform proposal was under discussion in the reviewing commission and was awaiting presentation to the national Parliament. Perhaps due to the attempted alteration of the quota law, the 2002 elections to Congress show a decrease in the percentage of female winners. (Pacari, 74) While the electoral law was an overall legal gain, it still presented challenges regarding the equal particip ation of women. The Ecuadoria n quota law requires all the 8According to Pacari, Ecuador’s implementation of th e quota laws led to a 15.5% increase in women’s overall representation at different levels in 2000 (from 5.3% to 24.8%). Of the members elected to Congress in the 1998 elections, 13.2% were women (16 of 121 legislators), and this number increased to over 20% in 2000 as more women alternates replace d principal legislators, either permanently or intermittently. (Pacari, 74)


85 parties and political movements to include a ce rtain percentage of women in the lists on an alternating and sequential basis. However, in practice the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE, Supreme Electoral Tribunal) hindere d its proper application by issuing an instruction for the local and provincial elections of May 2000 regarding the placement of women candidates on the lists. As a result, wo men were downgraded to the last positions, thus contradicting the law’s mandate on ‘alternation and sequencing’. (ibid, 75) Before the 2004 provincial elections, the TSE passed a decision on how electoral lists should be made up. Yet, the parties still did not fulfill these legal requirements. They continued to relegate women to low pos itions on party lists, thus hindering the enforcement of the placement mandate. “The TSE did not report on this in its report to the nation but committed itself to review the instruction in response to the demands of various women’s organizations.” (ibid) Ecuador’s electoral system continues to include open rather than closed party lists, no en forcement of a placement mandate (as it is difficult to apply to open-lists), and poor party compliance. While the percentage of women’s political presence in the legislatures increased right after the initiation of the quota law, it has decreased thereafter and will co ntinue to decrease if stricter regulations are not set. Paraguay Over the past decade, Paraguay has made important legal strides in gender equity through the enactment or revision of various statutes, including reforms to the Civil Code, Electoral Code and enactment of dome stic violence legislation. Implementation and enforcement of this legislation is hinde red because of historical norms and cultural


86 barriers, which block practical enforcement of these expansive constitutional tenets. (USAID 2005, 7) Paraguay’s bicameral Congress is comprise d of a 45 – member Senate and an 80 – member Chamber of Deputies. Serving as the legislative branch of the Paraguayan state, both chambers of Congre ss are elected concurrently w ith the president by means of a proportional representation system. Deputies are elected by departme nt and Senators on a nationwide basis “The Paraguayan law esta blishes a 20% quota (f or primaries) and mandates that at least one of every five candidates on the lists presented in these primaries be a woman.” (Htun and Jones 2002, 39) However, although they had been added to the electoral lists, women were routinely placed in the bottom positions because the related provisions of the la w did not specify what positions they were to be given. The limited success of the quota law in the Para guayan Senate election of 1998 is a result of Paraguay’s large district magnitude, comb ined with a one-in-five placement mandate. This combination made it possible for women that were placed low on the list to get elected. As a result, nine wome n were elected to the Paragu ayan Senate, five from the Asociacion Republicana Nacional ANR and four from the Alianza, which are the two largest parties. (ibid, 42) While Htun and Jones indicate success in Paraguay with regards to the increase in female presence in the Senate, data from the United Nations Statistics Divisions illustrates a less of a success in Paraguay’s Chamber of Deputies. (See Table 1.7 below) In fact, between 1990 and 1997 there is a decr ease in the presence of women, and it does not increase again until 2004.


87 Table 1.7 Proportion of Seats Held by Women in Paraguay’s Chamber of Deputies; Period 1990, 19972007 Year Total Number of Seats Number of Women % Total 1990 72 4 5.6 1997-03 80 2 2.5 2004-07 80 8 10 Source: United Nations Statistics Division Despite these noteworthy pockets of l eadership and repres entation, political presence of women remains to be low. Ofte n, women’s political presen ce is a result of personal political connections that have provi ded access rather than an explicit policy or endeavor to amplify women’s participation; their personal connections allowed them to triumph over the traditional barriers confr onting women. These triumphs have made important gains for women at the local level. Nonetheless, the mere presence of women in office does not equate to incorporation of gender concerns. As indicated by research presented in the literature, like in other Latin American countries, women’s political presence in Paraguay has been frustrated by the male-dominated patronage systems of political party leadership. (USAID 2005, 10) Conclusion In the beginning I hypothesized that in order for quota laws to be successful, a country must have a PR electoral system with party lists, the party lis ts of the PR system need to be closed, there need to be enfor ced placement mandates, the district magnitude needs to be of moderate to large size, there need s to be good faith party compliance, and government enforced penalties associated wi th any failure to comply with the law. However, as the case studies have illustrate d, only Argentina and Brazil can really be accounted for in such a study, and even these two countries contradi ct the hypothesis. For


88 instance, Argentina has a PR system with closed-party lists, enforced placement mandates, overall good faith party compliance, and government enforced penalties for law breakers, but does not have a district magn itude of moderate to large size; yet, the quota law was extremely successful increas ing women’s political presence in the legislatures. Unlike Argentina, Brazil has an open-list PR electoral system, no enforced placement mandates, little party compliance, and no government enforced penalties associated with failure to obey the law. Ho wever, Brazil does have a large district magnitude, which unfortunately that was not enough to make the quota law successful initially. In the case of Ecuador, the law was in itially very successful in an open-list system, even though there was no enforcement of a placement mandate, and poor party compliance. Yet, after the initial increase, the lack of party compliance (due to the lack of placement mandate enforcement) led to a decrease in the number of female representatives, which has only risen as of 2007 (as indicated by the UN data). Paraguay on the other hand, did have a cl osed-party list with placement mandates, but since it only required a 20% minimum and did not strictly enforce its mandates, its mild success was due to its large district magnitude for the Se nate. On the contrary, Paraguay’s district magnitude was relatively low for its Chamber of Deputies, thus it di d not achieve a great level of success in increase the presence of women immediate after the quota law was put in place. The other eight countries, Boliv ia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezu ela also fall within the middle of the Argentina – Brazil spectrum. Some countries were relatively successful, Peru and Costa Rica, but had an open-party list system and/or no placement mandates. Others were


89 relatively unsuccessful, such as Mexico and Bolivia, but had either a large district magnitude, or placement mandates. (R efer back to Tables 1.2 and 1.3) Overall, I conclude that my hypothesis cannot be strict ly applied to any of the four case studies, or to any other country in Latin America. While Argentina may be the best example of a successful case, its lack of a moderate to large district magnitude places it out of the range of my assumption. Perh aps if the hypothesis is amended with the removal of the presumption regarding the dist rict magnitude, than it can prove true in Argentina; however, it will still fail to account for the variations in the other countries. Inconsistencies in the data also make it extr emely difficult to arrive at conclusions that support the hypothesis. I think th at further research on the ac tual number of women in the legislatures needs to be compiled in order to obtain better results regarding the level of success of quota laws in increasing women’s pol itical presence. It s hould also be noted that perhaps one cannot theorize about the re gion as a whole, since what works for one country may not necessarily work for another. On the other hand, I think it’s safe to claim that having PR electoral system with clos ed party lists, enforced placement mandates, moderate to large size district magnitude good faith party compliance, and government enforced penalties associated with any failu re to comply with the law may improve the chances of a quota law’s level of success, but are not completely nece ssarily in all cases.


90 Conclusion While quota laws may have had an overal l positive impact on increasing women’s presence in politics, they may not necessari ly be the answer the solving the issue of gender discrimination in Latin America. While their application is only meant to increase women’s presence in government, and th is expectation was met overall, the consequentialist expectation that they w ould produce more public policies that would enforce gender equality has not been met. “Given the history of corruption, authoritarianism and continued pr oblems of clientelism in Latin America, it is unclear that electoral quotas offer the best way fo rward for women.” (Cha nt and Craske 2003, 41) Thus, the normative claim for quota laws ( quotas are the most efficient means of attaining fairness and equality with regards to the presence of wo men in decision-making processes that affect society at large) ma y not be completely accurate. While, quotas may be a great introductory step on the way to achieving gender fairness in pol itics, perhaps there is better method for increasing women’s presence in the decision-making process in a way that affects their equality within soci ety. With that being not ed, I argue that quota laws are currently the most efficient means of attaining fairness, however, due to the continuously evolving nature of our society, other methods need to be developed to insure that equality between the genders remains to be pursued. According to the feminist research presen ted in the literature that I reviewed, it appears that, to date, quotas have done li ttle to encourage wo men from grassroots organizations to involve themselves electo ral politics. The elite women, on the other


91 hand, have benefited by gaining access to the decision-making arena. Also, while increased quotas have led to women achievi ng higher levels of representation at the national level, they have had less of an imp act on attaining power for women at the local level. Quotas may be a useful tool in advancing the notion and process towards an effective democracy only when they encourage pa rticipation of all women at all levels of public representation. (ibid) The growth in women’s presence in legisl atures has corresponded with significant legal advances in women’s rights, including many that appear on the agenda of women’s social movements. Women legislators were responsible for enacting laws on domestic violence, rape, and the reform of discriminatory civil and criminal codes. For example, in Chile, women like Laura Rodriguez, Adri ana Munoz, are making a difference. As members of Parliament, these women “put so-c alled private issues like divorce, abortion, and domestic violence firmly on the agenda of public and political debate.” (Chuchryk in Jaquette 1994, 95) However, the mere presence of women in positions of power will not automatically generate policy outcomes symp athetic to women’s interests. (Htun 2001, 89) It should not be assumed that just because they are women, and have a common experience of segregation from political structur es of power, that they all share the same interests. (Stephen 1997, 283) Some women who enter parliament thr ough quotas can be nonor even antifeminist, and may vote against measures whic h they perceive as challenging women’s traditional domestic roles. (Craske 1999, 73) Although more and more women are being elected into official positions, their primary politi cal loyalty is to their political parties, to their mentors, and constituencies within the pa rty. “Under pressure, if the interests of the

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92 political party contradict the interests of women’s alliances, most women opt to vote with their party and not with other women.” (H tun 2001, 8-9) Also, di fferent women have various motiviations. While there are those who campaign through their social movements, there are those w ho launch activities in pursuit of specific demands on their own initiatives. These “self-motivated” women often have concerns other than those on the feminist agenda, including infrastructure, and may be less concerned about the lack of nurseries or health care cent ers. (Caldeira in Jelin 1990, 67) Few women are elected to office on a platform of women’s rights, a nd thus women’s movements remain in a struggle to have their demands met. While quota laws may have increased wome n’s political presence n as a whole, the state continues to be a problematic entit y, which has habitually offered women only a subordinate role, both lega lly and culturally. (Chant a nd Craske 2003, 21) As the case studies have illustrated, the limits and resist ance to women’s political participation, combined with political allegiances of fema le representatives, and cultural boundaries, remain to be major obstacles to having wome n’s interests accounted for. Women’s social movements are facing many formidable obstructions due to the limited cultural resources on the part of men and in the gendered be havior of men and women. (Stephen 1997, 283) Despite evident accomplishments, the political culture of Latin America remains to be profoundly gender-biased. Values an d practices in the world of public affairs are tailored more to the male spectrum, and the dynamics of political activity ha ve been cast in the image of male models. (Carrio 2002, 165) Yet, despite the cultural obs tacles and lack of resources, the increase in women’s political participation raises the probability of gender issues becoming more prominent

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93 on political agendas. For women’ s social movements in Latin America, this probability is a step towards their goals of gender equalit y, but it is not a simple solution to their tribulations. It is evident that although 12 of the countries in Latin America have played a revolutionary role in legisl ating to support greater gender equality in decision-making arenas, they have a long way to go to translat e this effectively into practice. (Chant and Craske 2003, 21) However, the enactment of gender quota laws in 12 Latin American countries is of tremendous symbolic importa nce, which is something that should not be taken for granted even though there continue to be many struggles for gender equality in the region. If the aim of quota systems is to increase the political representation of women in the region overall, then they have achieved their purpose in Latin America. Party leaders are now putting more effort into their search for potential women candidates, and quotas encourage women aspirants to put themselves forward as candidates. However, political representation must be complemented with necessary socio-economic changes in society at large in order to appease the demands of women’s social m ovements. The act of merely initiating gender quota laws is not e nough to raise awareness regarding the need for an increase in female political pa rticipation. Quotas for candidates do not automatically lead to the election of more women. The process of implantation and the set of regulations are just as im portant as the percentage of qu ota set in place. The type of party lists (closed being more beneficial than open), the enforcement of a placement mandate, party compliance, and sancti ons for non-compliance with the quota requirement are all key elements that need to taken into considerati on by a country that is striving for successful results from the quota law.

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94 Other elements must also be considered when trying to appease the demands of women’s social movements. While many women have gained the ability to influence the decision-making process, their allegiances to their parties and cultural barriers, have hindered their advancements of gender issues. However, ther e is indication that even women, who do not have links to the feminist movement, br ing changes beneficial to democracy. Women's influence is most observabl e in the new perspectives that they offer to the various aspects of polit ical life, rather than in explicit political platforms or legislative agendas. The accumulations of these minor changes may produce larger transformations over time. (Htun 2002) One can only hope that quotas can be used as a symbolic way to inform the public about th e need for gender equa lity and demonstrate society’s obligation to a democracy based on inclusiveness. The enforcement of a gender quota law at all levels of polit ical participation and the enco uragement of women from all socioeconomic and cultural areas to participat e, broadens the pers pective of policy and decision making institutions. In addition, an e qual representation of both genders brings symmetry to the views and approaches consid ered in decision and policy making at all levels.

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Frazier, Merav.
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Gender, quota laws, and the struggles of women's social movements in Latin America
h [electronic resource] /
by Merav Frazier.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 102 pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: Assuming gender neutrality in comparative analysis, i.e. not including either explicit or implicit references to a particular gender or sex, runs the risk of camouflaging the unequal distribution of political power, economic influence, and political access for men and women. Unfortunately, in assuming such neutrality, one is blinded to the inherent flaws of political systems, the inequalities they create, and their lack of consideration of gender and women's rights. To counteract this inequality between the sexes, women's social movements are fighting to create gender awareness and establish formal policies that place them at the same level as their male counterparts, and feminist ideals are slowly becoming more prominent. As in other regions, in Latin America, quota laws have been established as affirmative action-type mechanisms that are meant to create a balance in view of the inequalities women face in ascending to political office.My study focuses on whether or not quota laws have increased women's presence in Latin American political legislatures and if they have met the intended objectives by the women's social movements that advocated for them. My results indicate that quota laws have not worked in every Latin American country to dramatically increase women's presence in politics. The literature also suggests that quota laws have not entirely been able to produce the desired outcomes as proposed by women's social movements in the region. I also address the question of what has made quota laws successful in some countries, yet not in others. My research indicates that the effectiveness of quota laws depends on how they are drafted and implemented, that is if institutions have effectively been altered and if the government is taking specific measures to ensure that the law is being enforced.Since women have not been able to rely on the good faith of the political parties to determine their entry to positions of public authority, traditional procedures for candidate selection have been in need of alteration. I conclude that if quota laws are not customized to a country's electoral system and applied meticulously by political parties, they will hardly produce any results for women.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Advisor: Bernd Reiter, Ph.D.
Political participation
Electoral systems
Dissertations, Academic
x Political Science
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856