The Role of Women in Chilean Politics

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Role of Women in Chilean History Women in Chile, like in most Latin American countries, have always been looked upon as 2nd class citizens. From the time they are born they are raised as future housewives and rarely are they given the opportunities that men enjoy. The “traditional” role of women has always been a major concern in Latin American counties, and therefore through out history they have been denied once and again the right to vote, the right to get an education, and to have the same basic rights that men do. During the Decade of the 1970s, Chile transitioned from a democratic socialist government to an authoritarian military dictatorship. The role of women in this period is crucial in order to understand modern day Chile. The class lectures, readings, and the movie “In woman’s hands”, have shown the struggles of these repressed women who fought for an equal and democratic government. Not only did these activist women play a pivotal role politically, but they also began a process of pulling away from their socially imposed “traditional” roles. The readings we have done allow a clear understanding of Chilean history from which we can analyze the role women have played. In 1970, President Allende was democratically elected in to office. His socialist government promised to restructure the former government system into a new equal state, and women expected to gain political rights. The transition, however, was not a smooth one and Chile’s economy soon found itself incurring in terrible debts. Surprisingly enough, it was the women who took to the streets and began demanding an end to the “Marxist government” after little improvement in 3 years. After this period of social, political, and economical turmoil, the military supported by Chiles elite and a majority of the middle class took over with a coup. Soon thereafter, Chile fell into a

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