Volume 45 Number 176,
January-March 2014

Feminism and Social Change in Latin America and the Caribbean. Alba Carosio (coord.), clacso- asdi , Working Group collection, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, 2012.

Alba Carosio coordinated this academic text on issues currently facing Latin American women, edited by the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (clacso), with experts contributing from across the American continent. In this 269-page work with an introduction and 12 articles, the authors seek to explain the role of women in the globalized context to which they have had to adapt in order to contribute to decision-making, while of course taking into account the internal vicissitudes of Latin American countries. The introduction lays the groundwork for the development of contemporary women, explaining female participation in issues of public importance over the first decade of this century. The experts then seek to describe the phenomenon of feminism and social change that has taken place over time in Latin America and the Caribbean. One of the key parts of this introduction, written by Alba Carosio, reflects on how feminism should be understood in Latin America and the Caribbean, concluding the following: "Feminism in Latin America and the Caribbean is thought of as the intersection of systems of domination, such as sexism, racism, heterosexism and capitalism, in dialogue with anti-systemic practices, jointly responsible for setting forth more fair alternatives."

The first chapter, by Magdalena Valdivieso, entitled, “Contributions and the Impact of Types of Feminism in the Debate on Civic Responsibility and Democracy in Latin America," provides a valuable study regarding the origins of feminist theory in the eighteenth century, where political opinions on the social integration of women and what that would imply originally arose. In this first chapter, the author also describes the gradual beginning of gender studies, which mainly gained ground in philosophical and political circles of study.

In “Ruptures and Mending in Crisis,” Alicia Girón offers a fresh perspective on the importance of feminist agendas in daily events. Throughout this chapter, the author goes in depth as to the role of women in economic crises and the need to maintain or even improve the social fabric, warning that economic theory has failed to foresee the role of feminism in crises as an alternative. It is now a reality that contemporary women are economic agents participating in money circles, and, by extension, in the building of contemporary economies. The second half of this section concentrates on explaining the motivations of feminism and its consolidation throughout the twentieth century and the need to rethink feminist theory and how women participate in the economy by looking at how they participate in the labor market.

In “Feminine Subjectivity and Social Change in Cuba,” Norma Basallo Barrueta describes how female participation has undergone gradual transformation in the Caribbean country over the second half of the twentieth century. The author underlines the importance of the Cuban Revolution from a gender perspective, as one of its objectives was to include women in political issues, rather than purely the domestic realm, an important goal of the revolution's social project. One fundamental aspect of this chapter is that its analysis makes clear the differences between women of one decade and another.

In an article entitled, “One Step Forward and Two Steps Back?” Montserrat Sagot highlights the social efforts of Central American women, driven by their rejection of dictatorships and, as a result, their leadership of revolutionary movements for which they were not recognized due to a rejection of the liberalization of women or their impact and participation in politics.

Alba Carosio analyzes the status of Venezuelan women, mainly since the beginning of the government of Hugo Chávez, making it evident that the transformation of the role of women in politics was gradual, until women came to be a subject of interaction within Venezuelan society. Although this required lots of work, it was taken up in some sense by the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

In the next section, entitled “The Economic Crisis and the Labor Market for Hispanic Migrant Women in the United States,” María Luisa González and Patricia Rodríguez summarize the working conditions of migrants in North America, addressing the way in which they are hired, as well as the abuse, harassment and discrimination from which they suffer. They provide timely statistical data, allowing readers to observe the increase in Mexican migrants, pushing Mexico above Central and South America.

Alejandra Arroyo provides a timely commentary on certain migratory policies being implemented in Spain, which have had an impact on female migration from Hispano-America. Similar to other articles that analyze the importance of migrant labor in the development of countries such as the United States, the author explains the importance of Hispanic migration for Spain to ensure the stability of economic activities in spite of the financial crisis.

Silvia Berger offers a comparative analysis of Argentina in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, providing a series of reflections to understand the order of change that occurred in terms of gender in the different stages of the country, as well as the import substitution model, the effect of the accumulation regime on gender and the role of women when they joined the labor market at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Raquel Irene Drovetta addresses the situation in Argentina from a gender perspective, looking at the health system and services provided to indigenous women. The importance of this chapter resides in its analysis and description of the health conditions that women experienced in the last decades of the twentieth century, as well as the lack of adequate health policies to address this issue.

In “The Right to Abortion in Argentina,” María Chávez points to how complicated it has been to accept this practice, which up until now has been largely unspoken and no advances have been made beyond trying to pass a law, due to the endless obstacles this proposal would face in being applied. Finally, Eugenia Correa provides a series of interesting reflections on the economic integration created by unasur from a feminist perspective. This precise analysis is oriented mainly towards economics, but also brings in sections related to gender equality and eradicating poverty, clear objectives of the South American union, as well as other less important elements such as the Washington Consensus, the gender agenda of unasur and an objective criticism of public spending focused on gender.

Santiago Hernández
Institute of Economic Research – unam

Published in Mexico, 2012-2017 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 192, January-March is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
CP 04510, México, D.F. Tel (52 55) 56 23 01 05 and (52 55) 56 24 23 39, fax (52 55) 56 23 00 97, www.probdes.iiec.unam.mx, revprode@unam.mx. Journal Editor: Alicia Girón González. Reservation of rights to exclusive use of the title: 04-2012-070613560300-203, ISSN: pending. Person responsible for the latest update of this issue: Minerva García, Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México D.F., latest update: Feb 23th, 2018.
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