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Leadership From the Margins

Leadership From the Margins: Women and Civil Society Organizations in Argentina, Chile, and El Salvador

Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Leadership From the Margins
    Book Description:

    Women have experienced decades of economic and political repression across Latin America, where many nations are built upon patriarchal systems of power. However, a recent confluence of political, economic, and historical factors has allowed for the emergence of civil society organizations (CSOs) that afford women a voice throughout the region.Leadership from the Marginsdescribes and analyzes the unique leadership styles and challenges facing the women leaders of CSOs in Argentina, Chile, and El Salvador. Based on ethnographic research, Serena Cosgrove's analysis offers a nuanced account of the distinct struggles facing women, and how differences of class, political ideology, and ethnicity have informed their outlook and organizing strategies. Using a gendered lens, she reveals the power and potential of women's leadership to impact the direction of local, regional, and global development agendas.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5040-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. 1 Women and Civil Society Leadership in Latin America
    (pp. 1-41)

    Traditionally men have benefited from gender hierarchies, occupying leadership positions across Latin American society, but a number of factors—political, economic, and historical—have aligned to expand leadership opportunities throughout the region in civil society organizations (CSOs) for women, especially women who have been marginalized by poverty, be it urban or rural, or by ethnicity. Many of these organizations—a number of which are led by women—are successfully achieving their goals and creating new hope for the disenfranchised and marginalized in Latin America. These women leaders are setting up child care centers, addressing domestic violence in their communities, organizing...

  5. 2 The Emergence of Civil Society in Argentina, Chile, and El Salvador
    (pp. 42-89)

    As limited as the historical record is about Latin American civil society organizing in general, and women’s organizing in particular, a few committed historians of Latin American history, such as José Bengoa, Inga Clendinnen, Donna Guy, and Aldo Lauria-Santiago, have reconstructed events formerly dedicated to the triumphs of Spanish conquerors and founding fathers to illuminate the protagonism of women, workers, and indigenous people during the periods of conquest, colonialism, early statehood, and the modern era.¹ The work of these historians and scholars is crucial for building a more nuanced understanding of periods that have previously been portrayed from an elitist,...

  6. 3 Argentina
    (pp. 90-116)

    In Argentina the return to democracy in 1983 created conditions for rapid civil society growth, which has continued into the twenty-first century—expanding notions of human rights to include social, economic, and political rights; alleviating the effects of the economic crisis; ending domestic violence; keeping children in school; strengthening Christian base communities; and promoting community development. Women’s participation in civil society organizations is extensive, as is their leadership, which is drawing close to parity with men in many sectors of civil society.¹ In 1983 civil society organizations reemerged and women’s organizations were at the forefront. However, they soon had to...

  7. 4 Chile
    (pp. 117-154)

    Civil society in Chile—particularly the women’s movement—was in great part responsible for achieving an electoral transition from the dictatorship to democracy in 1990; since then, though, the women’s movement appears to have dissipated, divided by social class differences, accusations of cooptation, and competition over limited funding sources. However, new forms of civil society leadership are emerging on the edges of Chilean society. This chapter is about a renewal within Chilean civil society and the Mapuche women leading the transformation. Living on the very margins of Chilean society, these leaders teach the women of their communities the weaving and...

  8. 5 El Salvador
    (pp. 155-184)

    El Salvador is a small country of big contradictions: violence and poverty alongside commitment and hope. These same contradictions inform many of the efforts of Salvadoran civil society organizing in general and the women’s movement in particular. In El Salvador the women’s movement—comprised of a diversity of groups, organizations, and networks—remains determinedly committed to transforming the violence and poverty that confront so many Salvadoran women, men, and children. Both in civil society organizations and the women’s movement, women’s participation and leadership has been extensive before, during, and after the civil war. The scale of suffering during the civil...

  9. 6 Policy Implications of Womenʹs Civil Society Leadership in Latin America
    (pp. 185-198)

    Obviously one’s judgments, opinions, and priorities evolve over time, and so have mine during the eight years it took to write this book. My dedication to Latin American women whose efforts are making a difference in their communities and spheres of action—even though they face discrimination due to class, ethnicity, gender, or other forms of difference—continues to deepen. As a researcher, I feel an urgency to broadcast the results these women are achieving—this way I can contribute to undoing the invisibility generated by gender subordination and other forms of discrimination. I have been aware of women’s contributions...

    (pp. 199-202)
  11. NOTES
    (pp. 203-210)
    (pp. 211-226)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 227-233)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 234-234)