With only 10 percent of people claiming themselves to be natives, Latin America is considered as one of the most diverse regions in the world. Due to this ethnic and racial diversity, tracing the roots of gender issues by associating with a single group or factor might not reveal the truth. However, some objective factors like lower pay scales for women and labour force participation provide considerable objectivity to reckon the area in terms of gender issues (De Ferranti 77&78). Chile represents a variant region of Latin America which has gone through multiple phases in terms of gender roles and position.
The period of coup d’etat against President Salvador Allende in the country is also considered as a time of human rights era (Cleary 1). In this context, women faced dual exploitation – first as Chilean natives and then as suppressed part of the society. The military take over resulted in some of the most gruesome tortures against women thereby becoming a primary reason of insurrection in the later period. However, this insurrection was partly related to the exiles of thousands of women from Chile who during the time of exile actively participated in bringing a paradigm shift.
Rapid Industrialization and economic development in 1940s at one hand opened vistas for Latin American women by proving job opportunities, but the same phenomenon also served to debilitate their status and power. According to Julio Ceasar Pino, the economic development led to entrance in professional field but with a limitation to enter the corporate level thereby making them considered as futile presence (1). The letters of Marjorie Agosin and Emma Sepulveda in 1960s provide a firsthand view of gender roles in Latin America during the concerned times.
Coupled with stringent orthodoxy, the society portrayed in the letters is one that defines a fine line as to what was expected of women in the twentieth century. The chronicles portray that makeup was considered to besmirch the purity of women, their obligations coalesced with child birth and development, their duty to be in the kitchen to cook at parties even with servants were present and where in families men always won (1-14). Behind the shift from stark gender roles division to the acceptance of women in economy, politics and society, there lies a strong role of women movements emerging in the late twentieth century.
Today, Latin American women have seats in governmental offices and have Ministries (De Ferranti 81). However, for the share of changing roles that women in Latin America enjoy today is due to a far greater oppression of the gender in past that has led to a slow, but ongoing process of amelioration. Works Cited Agosin, Marjorie, and Emma Sepulveda. Amigas : Letters of Friendship and Exile. US: Texas Press, 2001. Cleary, Edward L. The Struggle for Human Rights in Latin America. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated, 1997
De Ferranti, David M. , Guillermo E. , and Francisco Ferreira. Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean : Breaking with History? Washington, D. C: World Bank Publications, 2004 Pino, Julio Cesar. “Teaching about Women and Underdevelopment in Latin American History. ” History Teacher 34. 3 (01 May 2001): 353-360. ERIC. EBSCO. Capella University. US. 10 May 2009 <http://ezproxy. library. capella. edu/login? url=http://search. ebscohost. com. library. capella. edu/login. aspx? direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ824437&site=ehost-live&scope=site>.
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