Publication Year

2000

Keywords

gender, women's empowerment, revolutionary movements, Latin America, Nicaragua, politics and society

Disciplines

Chicana/o Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Studies | Political Science | Politics and Social Change

Abstract

Throughout history revolutions have been a recurring means of bringing about political change in both developed and developing nations. In Latin America, in particular, revolutions have remained vital forces of political and societal change even to this day. The extensive studies of these revolutions tend to focus on strategy, ideology, success, and political theory. The issue of gender consistently emerges from revolutionary movements, yet it has been largely left out of the scholarly analyses. The literature that does exist regarding gender in the revolutionary context tends to focus on the political advancement of women and their political goals: how the situation of women either did or did not improve as a result of the revolution, what legislative advances were made, and how these changes affected women's lives. But I believe there are more indications of women's individual and collective development through revolutionary movements than these standard indicators. Most analyses do not consider the personal growth of the women who experienced and participated in the revolutionary movements. However, such growth on the individual level is an important aspect of societal progress and transformation. Through their participation in revolutions and revolutionary movements, women are often liberated from traditional roles. Even if they choose to return to those traditional roles after the revolutionary movement ends, they have, at a minimum, been exposed to alternative models of participation, gender roles, and the societies they live in. While the insights they have gained through their participation may not manifest themselves, they have still fostered a development in their minds, a new way of thinking of themselves and their roles in society. Through experience in and exposure to revolutionary movements women come to a greater knowledge of themselves and their positions in society. In this sense, revolutions are revolutionary for women themselves.

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