This book provides a comprehensive view of women's political participation in Latin America. Focusing on the latter half of the twentieth century, it examines five different arenas of action and debate: political institutions, workplaces, social movements, revolutions and feminisms. Nikki Craske explores the ways in which women have become more effective in the public arena as the context of politics has altered. The author demonstrates how gender relations shape political institutions and practices, whilst simultaneously being shaped by them. Craske examines the moments when women's action has challenged received ideas, and had a significant impact on the political life of Latin American nations. However, she also illustrated that while political spaces can be fashioned in moments of transition and crisis, these spaces are often diminished as 'normality' resumes, and lasting gains are difficult to achieve. Women remain heavily under-represented in political life, despite their important role in popular movements against authoritarianism. Craske makes it clear that the economy is a substantial constraint on women's political participation.
As the Latin American economy undergoes radical restructuring, it has an impact both on women's ability to participate and the state's ability to respond. This powerful book analyses the gains made since the 1950s, whilst scrutinizing the challenges and difficulties which still constrain women's political participation.
Nikki Craske is Lecturer in Politics at the University of Liverpool