Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Part I
 Part II
 Part III

Title: Women in Latin American politics : the case of Peru and Chile
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086820/00001
 Material Information
Title: Women in Latin American politics : the case of Peru and Chile
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Chaney, Elsa M.
Publisher: Estate of Elsa M. Chaney
Publication Date: 1971
Copyright Date: 1971
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Bibliographic ID: UF00086820
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
    Part I
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    Part II
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    Part III
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Full Text





A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the

requirements for the degree of

(Political Solence)

at the




This study depended upon many individuals and insti-
tutions. Those who contributed most to my understanding
were my interviewees in Peru and Chile, but they were
promised anonymity and thus cannot be acknowledged by name.
My gratitude to them nonetheless is great, especially to
those who became my friends and invited me to their homes.
In Peru, generous help was extended to me by

Professors Donald P. Warwick and Charles Lininger, both
then members of the University of Michigan's Survey Research
Center team in Peru, and by Professor Fritz Wils of the
Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Catolica.
In Santiago, a Chilean "roof" was extended to me by
the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)
in return for teaching a seminar. My grateful thanks go in
particular to Professors Glaucio Ary Dillon Soares and
Ingvar Ahman, for their help and interest.
Financial support for the research was provided by
the NDA-Pulbright program, as well as by the Ibero-American
Studies program at the University of Wisconsin. I owe
special thanks for his encouragement to Professor Peter
Dorner, Director of Wisconsin's Land Tenure Center with
wicoh I was associated at various times as student fellow,


part-time office worker and Research Associate.

Finally, my deepest debt of gratitude is acknowl-
edged to my advisor, Professor Charles W. Anderson, for his
help and guidance during my graduate studies. I must single
out in particular the long letters of advice he sent me in

Latin America during the year he was engaged in his own

research in Spain, and his encouragement over the months of

preparing this study in Madison. I also am most grateful

for the generous assistance of Professor David Chaplin of
Wisconsin's Department of Sociology.

None of the above-named agrees with everything
which follows, and I make the usual disclaimer that all the
errors are my own.


Chapter Page


3 THE IMAGE OP WOMAN . .......... 91





10 WOMEN AD THE P R . . . . . . 489

A National Woman Suffrage in the 21 Amerioan
Republican. 0 . . . . . . 509
B Choosing the Survey group. . . . . . 510

C The Questionnaire., .. . . . 523
D Classification Scheme for Women Leaders#
Levels of Service . . . . . . 539
E Scoring for Indexes Constructed for Chapter 9. 540

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . .0 . . o . 542




This study focuses on women and their part in the

renovation of their societies, especially in Latin America.

Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say the issue is

the virtual absence of women at the policy-making level in

the development effort, whether the formula for change

happens to be that of Chilean Christian Democrats, Cuban

Communists or reform-minded Peruvian military. The study

inquires if such groups ought to be concerned that women

today play so small a role in any government, political

party, private agency or movement promoting reform in Latin

America. And the study asks if feminine leadership--not
likely to emerge from either the modernizing military or the

church--might reasonably be expected to appear in the ranks

of those politicians, economists, planners and other politi-

cal activists working to restructure their societies, or

among the innovating intellectual elites.
Beginning with an analysis of woman's image in

Latin America, the inquiry assesses her contribution to

social, cultural and economic life from colonial times to

the present. Part II discusses the feminist movement in


Latin America, the effects of female suffrage on the polit-

ical process and the experiences of the first women to join
political parties and to hold office.
Part III presents the findings of a questionnaire

survey of 167 women in government and politics in Peru and
Chile, tracing their recruitment and career histories and
exploring their views on woman's role in society, their
attitudes towards women's participation in the professions
and political life and their commitment to social and eco-

nomic change.
The terms "political leaders" and "political elites"

as they are used in Parts I and II of this study designate
all people and all groups having a de jure or de fact

share in the exercise of authority and who play a part in

determining decisions. As Maurice Duverger notes, in each

human community there is a body of "leaders" or "governors"
who control the group, and their recruitment, activities,
ideas, prerogatives and rivalries form the basis of the

political process.1 In Part III, because of the difficulty
in deciding just who de facto leaders might be, a more

rigid definition of "political leader" had to be adopted.
The 167 women interviewees all are authorities in the legal
sense of holding office in the national government, the
municipality, the legislature or the political party.
The participation of women in electoral politics
and their assumption of political leadership roles are

analysed in this study as distinct phenomena. High partici-

pation rates in elections apparently do not, for women, lead

to greater participation in political leadership. This is

true everywhere in the world. So far as women's political

behavior is concerned, as Duverger observes, one feature

stands out--their real part in political leadership (as dis-

tinct from their part in elections) is "ridiculously

small."2 In electoral politics, the gap between proportions

of men and women voting has been narrowing in most coun-

tries. In the political elite, on the contrary,
In the overwhelming majority of cases, men continue
to be elected as ministers, members of parliament,
high-ranking civil servants, leaders of political
parties and of most pressure groups. There are
hardly any women in the bodies which take political
decisions and direct the State. They are able to
exert only indirect pressure on them, either through
elections or through special pressure groups, such
as women's associations, In this matter, then, the
equality of the sexes certainly has not been
achieved, and indeed, great inequality still
exists .

In Latin America today, policy making, politics and

government are principally concerned with the problems of

development. Whether leaders talk of "development" or "lib-

eration from dependency," their goals are similar. They

want to see their nations emerge as rapidly as possible

from poverty and backwardness.5

This study does not, however, analyze or recommend

a particular prescription for social, economic or political
change over any other. Rather, it inquires into the paradox


of nations becoming "modern," yet maintaining somewhat more
than one-half their populations on the periphery of the

development effort. At the leadership level, few women

collaborate in policy making, no matter what kind of regime

or the nature of its guiding ideology. At the level of the

ordinary citizen, few women take advantage of the new oppor-

tunities and options which the modernizing society opens to

its members. writingg of Asia and Africa (his remarks apply

equally to Latin America), Chester L. Hunt observes that in

most areas

the process of development is seen as a male pro-
ject in which women are given only token partici-
pation. Development represents an effort to bring
the male part of the world into the twentieth cen-
tury, leaving most of the omen in the restricted
culture of a previous era.

This situation leads us to ask why we should expect
women's emancipation to accompany development. If we define

emancipation to mean the progressive liberation of women--in

law and in fact--to assume responsible roles in professional,

economic and social life, then it is obvious that women have
not achieved such equality even in "developed" countries.7

As this study will explore in detail, women's emancipation

does not occur inevitably even in highly-developed socie-

ties. Nor does her liberation appear to be a necessary

condition for economic development (or an integral accom-

paniment of the revolutionary process, as early Marxists and

Socialists held).8

The thesis of the present study is that the emanci-

pation of woman remains a problem of logic and values unless

and until a society reaches a situation of acute labor

scarcity. (Women's position also tends to become temporar-

ily more equal at times of total mobilization [as in war-

time] or on a new frontier.) Whether our model of modernity

is built on the liberal values of the dest or on Marxist

philosophy, we identify a cloistered place for women with

traditional society and an emancipated place with modern

society. In the West, serfs are emancipated and feudal

privilege ends. Woments rights become the logical extension

of the claims to individual liberty and autonomy which under-

gird the whole process of transformation in the West over

the past two centuries. In the socialist state, there is no

ideological basis for denying equal rights to one-half the

toilers because of their sex.

If we define socio-cultural development in terms of

Talcott Parsonst "pattern variables," then the problem of

women's emancipation can be seen as an integral part of the

development process. Bert F. Hoselitz has shown how three

of the five variables in Parsons' schema are relevant for

development. In a now classic interpretation, he applies

these three pattern variables to the social changes that

accompany (Hoselitz says determine) increases in the economic

output of a society.9

Hoselitz first treats the achievement versus

ascription alternative as a modal behavioral pattern. The

movement in modernizing societies in terms of personal

evaluation is from ascriptive status based on kinship to

achieved status based on performance.10 Out of sheer con-

sistency, the society eventually must apply such standards

to women.

Functional diffuseness versus functional specificity

is the second variable. The housewife's role might be taken

as a model of diffuseness, while a profession implies a high

degree of specialization. The third pattern variable con-

trasts particularism and universalism as the basis for dis-

tributing economically-relevant tasks.11 If we are going to

write our laws categorically, for all individuals at the

same level of education and capacity, then again sheer

"neatness" requires that we apply these norms also to women.

Development also implies the increasing importance

of secondary associations in social structure, the diminu-

tion of primary ones. For women, the passage from exclusive

preoccupation with family to a role in the "wider society"

would seem to be the logical accompaniment of modernization.

Arguing this way, we see the close affinity between

this notion of development and the philosophy of liberalism.

To the extent that development has implied liberalism, it

too has implied women's equality. The norms of equality,

individual freedom and autonomy as the root propositions of

social philosophy eventually must extend from "all men" to



To associate development and liberalism may seem to

introduce ideological bias into what should be a neutral

concept. But what is "development" about, ultimately, if

not the question of the extension of individual competence,

and a notion of openness about the purposes and potentiali-

ties of the individual? The industrial revolution has not

been proposed to the less-developed nations simply to pre-

vent starvation, but to increase the potential of the soci-

ety, and consequently of its members, to do and make things.

The introduction of the notion of equality and distribution

into the idea of development is a question of values; that

no good reasons can be found for preferentially distributing

to some rather than to all the "wealth" that is the reward

of development.

Only on these grounds does a "total" version of

development make sense. Only if we are talking about a gen-

eral increase and diffusion of individual competence and

individual opportunity to pursue open-ended and personally-
defined goals can we incorporate all the aspirations usually

bundled together in the development packages (1) economic

productivity; (2) better distribution of the product of

economic growth; (3) changes in social structures, provision

for education, that convert predetermined statues to open

opportunities; (4) the creation of modern "large" social

institutions, means of commerce, trade, communications,

etc.; (5) political equality and participation, a "partici-

pant" rather than a subject political culture.

This vision of development has its opposite, the

contemporary developmental model which stresses, in the

style of Castro and Nyerere, the honoring of the traditional

(especially the peasant tradition and form of social organi-

sation) within a more productive economy. Here there is an

emphasis on national autonomy and on cutting ties of eco-

nomic and cultural dependency with other nations, along with

a skepticism about the desirability of large, formal insti-

tutions, including those of trade, communications and educa-

tion associated with the West. There also is a distrust of

the "values" associated with the Western tradition of

development: individualism, competition, Gessellschaft

replacing Gemeinschaft. It may be that these societies have

less ideological "underpinning" for emancipating women than

those which inherit the Western liberal tradition, although

the notion of communitarian equality and of shoulder-to-

shoulder comradeship which characterizes these ideologies

may provide an efficacious alternative.

Despite the logic of their ideologies, ho..ever, in

neither East nor dest has woman reached equality. As this

study will attempt to show, the image of woman's role in

society and the traditions surrounding her proper behavior,

particuLlarly in the realm of politics and policy making, so

far have proved highly resistant to the claims of logic,


justice and consistency. The barriers yield only to strict

necessity, as in the World War II economy of Europe and the

United States, or the post-World War II Soviet society which

opened broad opportunities to women to replace the huge

deficit of male citizens in their most productive years.12

Barring such situations of labor scarcity or emer-

gency, are women apt to participate on anything like an

equalitarian basis in the professions, cultural life, or

politics? Could societies develop without ever "emancipat-

ing" women at the level of voting rights, equal employment

opportunities and the like? Could women leap from their

traditional status to an as yet undefinable and significant

neo-feminist role in the post-industrial world? Are there

any features of Hispanic society which might lead us to

expect for women a different development and a different

pattern of emancipation?

The present survey hopes to suggest some answers to

these questions. The women leaders are studied not only in

relation to the differing roles most societies assign to

men and women, but also against the background of two spe-

cific and contrasting political cultures--the Peruvian and

Chilean. Peru still is a predominantly closed, conservative,

Hispanic society in which men--and sometimes even in greater

degree, women--view an active political role for women as

inappropriate and unfeminine. In Peru, writes the distin-

guished Peruvian philosopher and educator, Nelly Festini,

It still is a common belief that women belong in
the home and need only certain domestic skills and
a minimal education. This is an obstacle to the
development of both the family and the nation.13

So far as Chilean women are concerned, as early as

1939 the Peruvian Aprista leader, Magda Portal, exiled in
Santiago, wrote admiringly of their progress in comparison

to those in the rest of "colonial and semi-colonial" Latin

America, and particularly in her own country.14 In Chile,

traditional attitudes toward women are changing to some

extent, permitting a notable group of Chilean professional

women, bureaucrats and politicians to come forward in num-

bers not equalled in any country with the possible excep-

tions of Sweden, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.

Even in these countries, however, women have assumed

few top policy positions, and the total shrinks to insignif-

icance when compared to males in leadership roles,

especially at the higher policy-making levels.15 Writing in

a recent issue of The Annals of the American Academy devoted

to the situation of women around the world, Mrs. Lakshmi N.

Menon (who has served as Secretary of External Affairs in

India) sums up the findings of this detailed assessment of

women's participation in political life:

Considering the large number of educated and
politically conscious women who are capable of
efficient work and dynamic leadership, it is diffi-
cult to understand how so very few have reached the
higher echelons of political responsibility any-
where in the world. The fact that we have a prime
minister here or a judge there or a few ambassadors
in relatively minor stations does not indicate that

women's activities in politics have been effective
or rewarding. Even in socialist countries, where
special amenities are provided to woo women to
party work and greater participation in public
life, the results, strangely enough, are identical.16

There is no doubt that in some fields, especially

literature and the arts, women have achieved eminence. A

subsequent chapter on the history of women in Latin America

will document that women there also have distinguished them-

selves in literary and artistic endeavors. But as Levy Cruz

observes in writing about women in Brazil, "it is doubtful

that the term leadership can be applied to these cases."17

Moreover, these women always are "exceptional," and their

activities do not affect the great mass of women in Latin

America. Most women even of the privileged middle and upper

classes might with some accuracy still sing an ironic verse

composed by Mariquita Sanchez, hostess of Buenos Aires' most

famous salon in the first half of the nineteenth century:

Nosotras solo sabeimos
Oir la misa y rear
Componer nuestros vestidos
Y zurcir y remendar.

The only things we understand
Are hearing a mass, reciting a prayer
Arranging our ensembles
And patching and repair.18

In a world .where women infrequently play a leader-

ship role, it is fair to ask why a study of feminine leaders

concentrates on Latin Americans and, indeed, on Peruvians

and Chileans. One might reasonably ask anywhere in the

world today the questions posed here: Where are the

feminine experts in agrarian and tax reform, educational

innovation, housing, city planning and transportation,

employment and human resources, labor organization and rural

development? Granted that women (including Latin Americans)

are working today in almost all these fields, why are they

so few in number? ihy are women almost always encountered

at the lowest levels of the bureaucracy or academia and

almost exclusively in the feminine section of the political

parties? 4hy are they so rarely involved in over-all plan-

ning and decision making? If, as the author believes, the

situation of Latin American women is similar in many

respects to that of asians and Africans, and differs only

in degree from that of Jestern women, why single out Latin

Americans for a special study?

One reason simply is the fact that only a handful of

systematic studies yet exists on women of the Third World.

(A few male authors lanent the lack in a footnote.)19 In

contrast, there has been an explosion of published works on

aomen in the United States, Western Europe and the Soviet

Union.20 Now that the situation of women in Latin nmerica

and other Third World areas is beginning to change, their

attitudes and behavior need to be taken into account. Paul

H. Chombart de Lauwe, while remarking that "too many men

(and women) are, without being completely aware of the fact,

attached to ancient patterns," thinks that if women have not

yet either affected nor been affected by the transformation

of social structures to any great degree, this situation

certainly will not be the case in the future:

rThe] image of the emancipated woman . is
now appearing in various forms [almost everywhere].
According to the nature and influence of this image,
society as a whole will assume one aspect or another.
Political life, professional life, the organization
of residential areas, the activities of educational
establishments will be inevitably influenced by this
image. The planner would be wrong to leave out of
his calculations this essential factor which may one
day upset his cleverest designs. It is not Cleo-
patrals nose which concerns the modern historian,
but woman as a whole.21 (Emphasis added.)

Assessing the state of research on Latin America in

1963, a committee of Latin American scholars singled out the
need for studies of "the changing political role of women in

Latin America" as tenth on a list of 36 problems that needed

attention by future researchers.22 In these intervening

years, several master's theses on women in particular coun-

tries have been the only response.23 I hope that the pres-

ent study, which attempts a more general, comparative treat-

ment, may be a further contribution.

A second cogent reason for choosing Latin Americans

is the intermediate position they occupy among the world's

women. In Hispanic America, women share the cultural and

historical heritage of other western women, yet live in

nations facing problems similar to those of the Asian and

African countries. In Andean America, women's position

resembles that of their sisters in many traditional peasant

cultures. We may learn a great deal from the way Latin


American women confront the problems facing them and their

societies--not only for application in other developing

areas, but also for insight into the neo-feminist movement

of the 1970's in the United States, Women's Liberation.

No claim, then, is made that Latin American women

are completely unique, and much of the analysis presented

here applies to women of other cultures. This would be true

of any study dealing with so general a topic. Indeed, to

answer those who point out how much Latin American women

share with the rest of the world's women, I might borrow

the words of another author (writing in this case on eco-

nomic change):

Some may find that the framework of analysis is
so general that it applies to other political sys-
tems, and that it does not deal specifically with
the peculiar characteristics of Latin American
political life. Should this be the outcome, I
would not be particularly unhappy, for I do not
believe that the political culture of Latin America
is unique, but only a special case of man's effort
to govern himself.2

Finally, Latin America was chosen because my area of

interest happens to be this region. Many facets of the

political culture and the policy process in Latin America

can be studied from the angle of women's involvement. The

two countries of concentration, Peru and Chile, were delib-

erately chosen, however, as representative of two extremes

in economic, social and political development. Whether they

are ranked on economic and human resource development

indices, the countries present wide contrasts, yet they


never fall to the lowest point nor ascend to the highest on

any scale.25 Thus, Peru and Chile lend themselves to com-

parative analysis and, with caution, even to generalizations

about the rest of Latin America.

At least two major theses about women's participation

emerge from the historical, socio-economic and political

analysis of Parts I and II and are confirmed by the survey

data from Peru and Chile in Part III. First, traditional

images of woman's proper activity still are so strong in

Latin America that when women do enter professions or gov-

ernment, they (and the men) almost invariably consider their

intervention as an extension of their family role to the

arena of public affairs. Many envision women's offices (to

use descriptions originated by Taleott Parsons to character-

ize current male-female role images) in terms of the nurtur-

ant and affectional tasks society assigns to women, rather

than in terms of the instrumental male role which is more

aggressive, authoritarian and achievement-oriented.26

Ximena Bunster, Chilean anthropologist, thinks that

professional women in her country approach their jobs in a

style quite different from what she perceives as the North

American woman's attitude:

What happens is that we extend matrimonial
roles to work. . ]e tend to treat the man as
a mother would, and not as if he were the husband,
the lover or the colleague. The Chilean is a mama
that approves, sanctions, corrects, quite different
from the North American environment where profes-
sional relations are marked by the sense of


Luis Hernandez Parker, one of Chile's leading polit-

ical writers, has described in similar fashion the political

style of Chile's women politicians, whether of the left or

the right:

. the woman constitutes a "political world"
apart from the male. .. .hen the woman speaks in
the poblaciones marginal settlements around the
cities] or in the countryside, she does so in lan-
guage of the heart. In Parliament--and with the
sole exceptions of Maria de la Cruz [Partido Nacion-
al, conservative-liberal coalition] and Carmen Lazo
[Communist], who are as spectacular and combative
as the men--they fulfill their role in another style.

Whether they are called Ines Enriquez or Graci-
ela Lacoste, Maria Maluenda or Laura Allende IRadi-
cal, Christian Democrat, Conmmunist and Socialist,
respectively), they are the untiring "ants," valiant
and tender. The men will be preoccupied with prob-
lems as abstract as constitutional reforms. The
women are fighting for kindergartens, for drinking
water in the poblaciones, for day care centers.28
(Translation mine.)

a woman official often sees herself as a kind of

supermadre tending the needs of her big family in the larger

casa of the municipality or even the nation. As I hope to

show, such an attitude results in a conservative outlook and

an ambivalent attitude towards change on the part of many

women leaders.29

Indeed, there are indications that women's partici-

pation might be anti-developmental. As will be documented

in Part II, women all over the world as they joined the

electorate almost always voted for the more conservative

candidates. Women in policy-making positions have shown no

greater eagerness to champion fundamental change. As Part


III of this study shows, women do not generally favor radi-

cal economic and social reforms because they fear the dis-

ruptions and dislocations in society, the revolutionary vio-

lence and the swing towards the left that such changes often

imply.30 Their prescriptions for development very often do

not go beyond what Chileans call "mejoras"--little improve-

ments to relieve the most pressing and immediate problems of

food, clothing and shelter, suggested without any interest

or preoccupation about the structures of the economy and

society which cause such conditions. Jomen in the survey

consistently revealed a lack of ability to conceptualize on

a macro-societal level.

In this context, it is interesting to note that at

the first Inter-American Congress of domen, held in Havana

in 1923, the women's movement in Latin America was charac-

terized as "maternidad social," social maternity.31 In

analyzing the texts and resolutions prepared for this and

subsequent women's congresses, it is striking how they cen-

ter almost exclusively on themes related in one way or

another to the home and family and to the enforcement of

public morality. It is almost as if women believed that

they had no right or competence to deal with the other

issues facing society.32

The vote for women, which was just emerging as an

issue at the time of these meetings is viewed (and Justi-

fied) almost exclusively as a vehicle for obtaining from the

state social reforms in favor of women, children, the old,

the sick, juvenile delinquents and prostitutes. Rare

indeed is it to find other aspects of social, economic or

political life considered at these women's congresses.33

Nothing is more natural than that women's first ven-

tures into the public arena should have been put in the

framework of her traditional vocation as wife and mother and

should emphasize moral values. .htat is questioned here is

the fact that almost fifty years later the horizons of

influential women so often still are confined exclusively to

these feminine interests and that solutions proposed almost

always remain at the level of institutionalized charity.

Historically, the image of the active woman as a supermadre

has prevented all but a few women from joining the vanguard

of movements advocating profound political or social reform.

It is important to note here that at this stage of

research, we do not know to what extent men act as gate-

keepers, excluding women from policy positions, and to what

degree women's exclusion is self-imposed by their own ideas

on spheres proper to women officials. As Lane observes,

quite aside from women's primary responsibility for the

young in most cultures and their consequent preoccupation

with the moral training of the next generation, there is

some evidence that the custody of moral values often is

bestowed as a "consolation prize" for exclusion from other

activities more highly valued in a society. Seymour Lipset

has noted the same phenomenon.3

Whatever the reasons she elects the more "feminine"

tasks, the supermadre is prone to regard her specialties

with a certain jealous propriety that re-enforces the view,

already strong among both men and women in these societies,

that the welfare of women, children and the family is

exclusively a feminine concern. The executive secretary of

the Consejo de Menores (Children's Bureau) in one Latin

American country--an energetic and able young man who stud-

ied social work in Europe--recounts that aside from the sur-

prise and sometimes resentment he encounters on the part of

both men and women at finding him in a "woman's Job," he

also must combat the view that there is something not quite

masculine in professional concern ,with legislation and wel-

fare related to children.35

Thus such fields continue to suffer from the lack of

broad conceptions and wider horizons that male collaboration

might bring to them--not because the male mind is superior,

but because the female mind has been narrowed by the woman's

education and life experience. As this study will show,

women in Latin America live much of their lives in a

restricted, "feminine" world. Even the most active women

still are educated by other women in sex-segregated schools.

Many then go on to spend their entire professional lives

working with and under the supervision of other women, and

only a few have the opportunity to develop "colleague"

relationships with men.

This de facto segregation of women prevalent even

today stems from old notions about guarding womanly virtue

prevalent in all patriarchal societies. These ideas about

women will be explored in Chapter 2, Gilberto Freyre notes:

IThe] double standard of morality allows the
man every opportunity for initiative, social inter-
course, contacts of many sorts, while it limits
those of the woman to domestic duties and activi-
ties, to contacts with her children, relatives,
nurses, old women, slaves.30

In this respect, women in Latin America probably

differ only in degree from other Western women. Summarizing

what we know about the political behavior of women in West-

ern cultures, Lane comments:

A moralizing political orientation of women
arising from maternal responsibilities, exclusion
from more socially valued areas of activity, and
narrow orbits, tends to focus female political
attention upon persons and peripheral "reform"

David Riesman also has noted that women's more restricted

contacts in society and the narrower range of their experi-

ence may reinforce their view that the values which they

cherish are the only worthwhile values,38 and Samuel

Stouffer found women to be somewhat more intolerant than men

on the question of civil liberties.39 Women's focus is on

primary institutions, while men tend to focus on secondary


To assert that women's attitudes are constricted is

not, of course, to imply a contrasting, vigorous level of


informed interest in politics and enthusiasm for reform on

the part of all men. For years the concept among United

States observers persisted of Latin America as a continent

of highly politicized, revolutionary masses on the verge of

revolt. Now we know that this picture was largely inaccur-

ate. Studies have shown that only a small part of the pop-

ulation of either sex plays an effective role in the politi-

cal process or has any sustained interest in it. Horowitz

has characterized the atrophied Latin American political

system as "a traditional style of non-politics."40 Victor

Alba estimates the general level of electoral participation

at about 20 percent of the citizens.1 The masses typically

are apolitical and apathetic, lack confidence in govern-

mental processes, do not have sufficient power resources to

participate and have little sense of personal "political

efficacy." Only certain elite groups until now have made

any serious attempt to gain access to the political system.42

The ideal, in a world without traditions and preju-

dices, certainly would be that men and women would fill the

posts in government and elsewhere for which their talents

and training prepared them, without any special note being

taken of their sex. Men and women would dedicate themselves

to primary or secondary institutions as their own particular

capacities and bents dictated. Men would serve in child

welfare (and eventually certainly must) without casting

doubts on their virility, and women would be scientists or


administrators without being considered "marimachos." 3 The

ideal justly asks: Why should not both men and women,

according to their own particular bents, concern themselves

with improving the lot of the woman, the child, the old, the

sick, the Juvenile delinquent--and with planning, industri-

alization, balance of payments, inflation, monetary reform,

agricultural development and outer space?

But the ideal "modernized" world is not yet, and

tradition has designated (or stereotyped, if you will) cer-

tain areas of life and concern as feminine. So this study

asks: Taking women where and as they are now, are women apt

to participate in the tasks of development and if so, what

difference would their contribution make?
A second thesis underlying this study relates closely

to the first. Women's active political intervention in

Latin America (as elsewhere) in any numbers always has

occurred at the crisis points in their nations' histories.

Women tend to become active only in times of extreme chal-

lenge, then sink into apathy when the emergency is over.

The typical pattern of involvement, even of individual

women, is one of entry/withdrawal. In a crisis, behavior

outruns belief; when normalcy returns, the image of women's

role has not changed sufficiently to allow more than a few

to remain active at a responsible level.

The conquest and independence movements in Latin

America, the winning of the West and the abolition movement


in the United States, the two world wars and the peace move-

ment of 1918 are some of the events which called women

forth to share the risks and tasks of society side by side

with men. But in each case, women's participation was pro-

visional and tentative, often indirect and anonymous, and

almost always justified in terms of the feminine image,

i.e., it was allowable for women to agitate publicly for

peace because they were mothers. Society accepts women's

help in an emergency, but her permanent collaboration on an

equalitarian basis has yet to be legitimized or institu-

tionalized in any society.

Thus, the self-sufflcient pioneer woman of the North

American West was succeeded not by the woman entrepreneur,

senator or professional as might have been expected, but by

the fainting, sheltered Victorian lady. In Latin America,

the criollo heroines who conspired alongside their menfolk

in the wars of independence against Spain did not follow

them into the legislatures and governments of the new repub-

lics but disappeared into another full century of silence.

In Brazil, as Freyre records,

in the rugged early days of the settlement of the
coast, when men and women were confronted with an
awe-inspiring virgin land waiting to be cnquered,
women enjoyed greater freedom of action.

But the capable and energetic "early plantation or ranch

mistress became [in the succeeding patriarchal period] an

artificial, morbid being, la] sickly person deformed by her

role of servant to her men and doll of flesh and blood to

her husband."45

But these examples deal with women's response to

challenges of the past. What about the future? Will devel-

opment, the key policy issue of the 1970's, also prove to be

the key to full emancipation for women of the Third World?

From the one side, isn't women's full and active collabora-

tion essential to the development process? From the other

side, won't economic, social and political change automatic-

ally assure women's liberation?

If the history of development in the Soviet Union

and the dest is any indicator, then the prognosis for wom-

en's involvement in development throughout Latin America and

the Third World is not very positive. Evidence from the

developed countries suggests that the participation of women

in leading positions is irrelevant to the development pro-

cess. If the level of women's intervention in public affairs

is measured by their rates of participation in higher edu-

cation, as professionals in the labor force and as bureau-

crats and elected officials involved in policy making, then

the history of socio-economic change in developed countries

would seem to show that woments participation is not neces-
sary to development.46 Countries of the West did not have

any significant number of women in leadership positions dur-

ing their periods of greatest industrial expansion, and

Japan is only the last and most conspicuous example of a


newly-developed power with low indices of feminine partici-

pation in education, the professions and political life.47

In the Soviet Union, where the prospects for entering and

succeeding in a career probably are the best for women any-

where, Norton T. Dodge, an expert on women in the Soviet

economy, has found that

the proportion of women in the administrative and
professional jobs . tends to decrease with each
successive increase in rank, even in such fields as
education and health, where the role of women is
dominant. .. There appears to be an undeniable
tendency for female specialists in all fields to
congregate in the lower and middle echelons, Per-
haps the most striking instance of this is the small
number of women among the [Communist] party profes-

Neither, from the other side, is it certain that the

liberation of women for meaningful involvement in public

life and professions necessarily follows economic develop-

ment. Even crude economic activity rates for women are not

affected by the degree of industrialization--see Table 4.6,

Chapter 4--and several studies now show that cultural, social

and demographic factors, as well as the supply of male

labor, play a greater role in determining whether or not

women work.49 In any event, women's emancipation in any

wide sense cannot be measured simply by their presence in

the labor force, an index often used to "prove" that women

are becoming emancipated because increasing numbers work

outside the home.

4e now know that many women work in discontinuous

fashion and from economic necessity, motivations that have

little to do with realizing individual potential, developing

in one's profession or contributing at a responsible level

to one's country.50 Making a distinction between advancing

in a definite, full-time career and holding down a Job to

increase family income is a good device for separating women

into the more and the less emancipated.

Leaving home may indeed be a first step for a woman

toward widening her horizons and securing a certain economic

independence, but there is no infallible guarantee that paid

employment will lead to permanent emancipation. Economic

development based on industrialization thus may play an

indirect role in the progress of women, but it does not

automatically free them to enter careers on an equalitarian

basis with men nor to participate in the decisions affecting

the economy and the polity.51

On the contrary, economic progress sometimes corre-

lates negatively with levels of women's activity--not only

with their over-all participation in the work force, but

with the numbers choosing careers. David Chaplin has sug-

gested that women's participation goes through two stages in

relation to industrial development. In the first industrial

revolutions in the dest, when new occupations opened up

which initially were "sexless" or unattractive to men, many

women entered the labor force. Later (midway in the indus-

trialization process, according to Chaplin), when relatively


less labor was required and development brought more pros-

perity, women "retreated" to specialized roles as homemakers
and consumers.52 In the United States, the move back to

family may also have been influenced by what has been widely
referred to as "the feminine mystique" (but what Jessie

Bernard has perhaps more aptly characterized as the "strange
interlude of the Motherhood Mania").53
There is evidence to support Chaplin's contention

that in a consumer-oriented economy "it takes time to spend
money, more time than the average man can afford. B Pros-

perity has reduced Italy's labor force by more than one mil-
lion women in the past eight years. In 1961, 25 percent of

all Italian women were working; by 1968, the number had
dropped to 19.7 percent because husbands were earning larger
salaries and their wives could give up their jobs.55
Even in the Soviet Union, the shift to "consumerism"

may be reducing the participation of women in the labor
force. The percentage of women workers actually has declined
from a 1926 high of 51 percent (as urbanization and indus-
trialization increased) to 47 percent by 1959, although
women still outnumbered men by 15.4 million in that year.56

Participation rates for women tend to be much higher than

the national average in the non-Moslem republics which suf-

fered a high loss of men in the war and where women still
account for a large percentage of collective farm workers,

and to be lower in the Moslem areas (reflecting demographic

and traditional factors, both of which also affect women's

participation rates).57 Significantly, however, the number

of women working as a percentage of all women is lower in

the most advanced and developed part of the Soviet Union,

the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, or Russia

proper (where 43 percent of all women were employed in 1959,
4 percentage points below the national average for that time,

in spite of the fact that women outnumbered the men by more

than 1.2 million in the RSFSR).58

Prosperity and the consequent retreat to femininity

also affect the number of women pursuing careers. For

example, in the United States, professional women in the

labor force declined from about one-half of all profession-
als in the 1930's to one-third in the 1960's.59 The number
of women receiving Ph.D. degrees in the United States went

from a high of 15.4 percent of the total degrees conferred
in 1930 to a low of 9.6 percent in 1950; since then the pro-

portion gradually has been increasing again, reaching 12.6

percent of the degrees conferred in 1968.60 In the Soviet

Union, women holding the candidate degree (equivalent to the

doctoral degree in the United States) stabilized at 29 per-

cent of all degree holders in 1959, 1960 and 1961. Women
with doctoral degrees (earned approximately 10 years after

the candidate degree if the holder elects to go on), how-

ever, increased to 11 percent in 1961, as women holding the

candidate degree progressed up the ladder, indicating that


the lower degree ranks were not being replenished at previ-
ous rates.61
Over-all figures for higher education are even more

revealing. domen in the United States in 1939 reached their
peak enrollment in higher education, registering 40 percent
of all students in colleges and universities. Numbers de-
clined to 32 percent in 1950, then climbed again to 38.6
percent in 1964.62 In the Soviet Union, the "higher educa-
tion curve" is even more pronounced (reflecting the increase
in men students in contrast to the war years), steadily
declining from a high of 58 percent female in 1940 to 43

percent in 1964. (I disregard the war-inflated high of 77
percent in 1945.)63 Professor Dodge does not look for an
in-rease and thinks that the proportion may be stabilized,
at least for the present, "at a level far removed from the
quantity one might properly expect on the basis of Soviet
pronouncements."6 Other speculations by experts as to the
cause of the decline include recent changes in admission
regulations to institutions of higher learning which tend to
favor men65 and the fact that women may decide to sacrifice
their own careers so that their men can get ahead. (These
figures should not obscure the fact that among able-bodied
women of working age r16 to 59 years], only 31 percent were
not productively employed in 1959. This contrasts with about

58 percent of North American women in a comparable age group
in the same year. 7 In each case, some of these were


Perhaps the most instructive recent example of the
"withdrawal" phenomenon is being experienced today by women

commonly considered among the most advanced in the world,

the Israelis. In the early collectives, equalitarian ideas

prevailed, enforced by elite groups of both men and women

who did not, however, represent a true consensus of either

Jewish or Arab values. Thus, by the mid-1960's, women rep-

resented only 27 percent of the Israeli labor force, a fig-

ure far lower than the percentage for most other industrial-

ized countries, and only 8 percent of legislators in the

Knesset, the Israeli parliament.68

writes Zena Harman, who herself has served the

Israeli government in numerous posts at home and in the

United Nations:

[Women in Israel today] still have not emerged suf-
ficiently as leaders or important factors in the
determination of national policies at the topmost
level. Only a few hold pivotal public positions.
Even in the Kibbutz there is a tendency to delegate
them to duties associated traditionally with women
and the household. Intensive discussions in the
columns of woments journals and newspapers, as well
as in the general press, revolve around the ques-
tion as to whether women, in fact, desire major
leadership roles or seek to any extent the oppor-
tunity for larger participation in government or
policy making,

[T]he importance of the motherhood role is be-
ing emphasized as the need to reinforce and strengthen
the family unit becomes more urgent and traditional
practices give way to new norms in a society still
in a state of flux. The older feminists are begin-
ning to losg ground to those who would upgrade
femininjty.09 (Emphasis added.)


A report compiled in 1966 by the Israel Association of Uni-

versity Women confirms Mrs. Harman's conclusions. "The

younger women are strongly family-oriented," the report

asserts, "and less equalitarian than the so-called 'modern'

image . which allows for more autonomy and responsibil-

ity than the traditional attitude."70

Whether or not Cuban women will prove the exception

to the universal rule of "withdrawal" still remains to be

seen. I hesitate to speculate about Cuba because so little

investigation has been done there, particularly on women.

One sympathetic observer, journalist Elizabeth Sutherland,

includes an impressionistic chapter on women in her recent

book on Cuba. Significantly, she calls women's emancipation

"the longest revolution," and her conclusions are that,

over-all, not a great deal has changed:

JA]11 over the island . old ideas in the area
of sex--in particular about the societal roles of
women and about relations between men and women--
were a subject that came up all the time. The
society showed many contradictions between the
present, Revolutionary liberation of women and
oppressive attitudes hanging over from the past.
Along with a New Man, there was also a New Woman
to be created. Like the black, she had an extra
distance to travel.71

Sutherland records the important revolutionary roles

played as early as the Ion-ada attack by women like Haydee

Santamaria and Melba Hernandez; the battalion of women com-

batants in the Cuban rebel army; and the women in the urban

underground. Three women are prominent today. In addition

to Haydee Santamaria, the wife of party leader Armando Hart

Davalos, they are Celia Sanchez, Fidel Castro's secretary;

and Vilma Espin, wife of Raul Castro and head of the Cuban

women's federation.72

By the end of 1966, only about 150,000 women had

become regular wage earners since the revolution, and most

of these were not in production, but in service work (teach-

ing, staffing nurseries, etc.).73 However, Sutherland found
"women visible everywhere, as workers, teachers, government

representatives and administrators." Even so, she records

many reports of contradictions between "the theory of equal-

ity of women and the reality." The women's comments indi-

cated to her that

it was male chauvinism in the realm of interper-
sonal relations which preoccupied them. Few
talked about how men dominated the leadership.
(This was true even in the lower political strata;
among the thousands of delegates elected to local
government, for example, only about 11 percent were
female.). The old structure which supported
female oppession was gone, but the ideology lin-
gered on.(L

Richard R. Fagen, who treats women only peripherally

in his book on the transformation of political culture in

Cuba, does have one chart giving some of the demographic

characteristics of the leaders in the Escuelas de Instrucoion
Revolucionaria (Schools of Revolutionary Instruction). The

directors at the end of 1966 were 15.5 percent -om~en of the

573 total.75 These schools had been founded in 1960 with
the task of "the ideological formation of revolutionaries,

and then, by means of the revolutionaries, the ideological

formation of the rest of the people."76 From these schools,

since closed, came the cadres who were given impressive

responsibilities in the political apparatus of the revolu-

tion.77 Maurice Zeitlin has interesting speculations about

:omen in a chapter in his book on the Cuban working class.

However, because his sample contained only 16 women, the

fact that proportionately fewer women workers supported the

revolution cannot be regarded as very decisive.78

Joman's biological role and her home responsibili-

ties have, of course, been a major deterrent to her partici-

pation in public affairs, but even here "image" plays a

part. A society will not take serious measures to relieve

women of housework and child care until its ideas on her
"proper" activities undergo drastic change--or unless its

need for women in the economy is urgent because there is a

shortage of males. Even in the Soviet Union, permanent day

care nurseries by 1966 accommodated only 10 percent of

nursery-aged children (and they were not free).79 Dodge

believes that even this comparatively modest development was

motivated mainly by the need for women in industry,80 not by

preoccupations about women achieving an equalitarian role,

Any woman considering escaping to the Soviet paradise in

order to pursue her professional interests had better take

along her children's grandmother: Dodge indicates that it

is upon this personage--or upon other relatives with low

earning power--that child care falls.81

In the chapters that follow, a wealth of evidence

will be cited to support the contentions being made here

about woman's image and her style of participation, as these

factors affect the women leaders of Peru and Chile. Yet no

single finding of this present study illustrates women's

entry/withdrawal pattern more graphically than the fact that

most women today holding government posts in Peru and Chile

lack any further aspirations. Many of the 167 women inter-

viewed became active in the late 1950's after the right to

vote and to hold office was extended to women. For a time,

a climate more favorable to women's intervention in public

affairs was created, and the duty of women to become

involved was discussed everywhere. Now the novelty has

worn off, opposition and male prejudice have been encountered

and the traditional image of woman has reasserted itself.

Of the 167 women interviewees, 104 disclaim any interest in

continuing in politics or advancing to a more responsible

post in government; only 34 want to rise in the future. The

remaining interviewees (N = 29) are content to stay where

they are or don't know if they want to advance (5 cases).8

This propensity to withdraw is a factor that ought to be

kept in mind in interpreting all the other data in this


A word about the kind of approach this study takes

is in order before concluding this introductory chapter.


Because the inquiry focuses on "leaders," one might properly
classify it as a political elite study. Yet women are so

unorganized and ill-defined as a group, command so few
political resources and wield so little power that to

regard them as forming an elite in the same sense as indus-
trial laborers, the military or landowners would be mislead-

ing. women in Latin America do not fit any of the current
models through which political scientists attempt to organ-
ize the phenomena of politics. They do not, as a group,
seek power, they do not form coalitions to bargain with
other power contenders.

What may advance our understanding of women in the
political process is to consider women leaders as "deviant
eases" among society's largest marginal group. Viola Klein
has suggested that
In a society in which the standards are pre-
dominantly masculine, women form an "out-group
distinguished from the dominant strata by physical
characteristics, historical traditions and social
role. As in the case of other groups in a similar
position, preconceived opinions are applied more
or less summarily, to the class as a whole, with-
out sufficient consideration of individual differ-
ences. . Members of "out-groups" are subject to
collective judgments instead of being treated on
their own merits. fhile such "stereotypes" may
encourage certain qualities in the member of a
group, their general effect tends to be inhibitive,
To be judged, not as an individual, but as a member
of a stereotyped group, implies an incalculable
amount of restrictions, discouragement, ill-feeling
and frustration.03

Gruberg also has characterized female politicians

and other professionals as "marginal people."

They are no longer comfortable associating primar-
ily with traditionalist women, but are unable to
establish social ties among men. Such a person is
confronted with the necessity of being disloyal to
feminine-role values as she adopts he values of
the group into which she is moving.o

One of my interviewees, a congresswoman, articulates these

feelings of marginality experienced by the woman politico

in Latin Americas

Some of my women friends appreciate what I am
doing, but others who are dedicated completely to
the home don't know exactly what it means to be in
congress. Women in general are not prepared suf-
ficiently to appreciate what a political career

Then there are practical difficulties. For
example, on social occasions I find myself seated
always with the women, while my colleagues, the
men, are on the other side of the room talking
politics. It's ridiculous, but I wouldn't dare
move--it just wouldn't be understood here,85

Dealing with Latin American women leaders as members

of a marginal group rather than part of the political elite

also avoids the "infinite regression" fallacy. This is the

contention of certain students of oligarchies that behind

every ostensible political elite stand, in the shadows,

those who actually referee the political game but who are,

in turn, nothing but tools in the hands of still others who

really govern. Observers who do not understand the bounda-

ries of women's influence in Latin America sometimes make

this mistake. They admit that women may not hold many

official public offices, but on the basis of discovering

influential women whose advice is heeded in some spheres,


they leap to the conclusion that Latin America is governed

by a matriarchy. (A detailed discussion of how women in

Latin America exercise their influence--and the limited

nature of their power--appears in the last section of Chap-

ter 2 below.)

Such a contention is not unrelated to a favorite

North American myth of women's "unseen power." As Gruberg

notes, since American women buy 80 percent of the consumer

goods produced in this country, the conclusion often is

drawn that they must exercise secret political power. As

Gruberg also notes, women are the chief beneficiaries of

most estates, own 65 percent of savings accounts, receive

80 percent of the benefits of life insurance, own 75 percent

of all suburban homes as well as 40 percent of all real

estate.86 If women ever were organized and directed their

energies towards common goals, womanpowerr" might become a

formidable force.

Unorganized and without leadership, however, women

remain no more powerful than any other marginal group which

has not learned how to employ its resources in affecting the

political process. Whether or not the new movement of

"Women's Liberation" will successfully marshal these poten-

tially formidable resources to increase women's power in

this country remains a matter of speculation at the present

time. To claim that women, whose limited influence presently

is scattered in dozens of conflicting directions, exercise


any hidden influence over decision making is like claiming

for the unorganized worker some occult power over manage-

ment. As more than one observer has noted, the United States

corporate device of encouraging the widespread and predomi-

nantly female nature of their stockholders was designed to

"emasculate" ownership control.

In choosing a political or government career, a few

women defy the conventional image and the weight of culture

and history. Peruvian and Chilean women who do so go

against a cultural tradition that is more complex, yet not

unrelated to the traditions under which most Western women

live. An insight into what the struggle against the collec-

tive judgments of custom has cost the "deviants" and an

exploration of the women leaders' characteristics and moti-

vations may tell us a great deal about why most women are

absent from the policy-making process.

The following chapter discusses the feminine stereo-

type as it developed in Latin America, and Chapter 3 of Part

I traces its sources. Chapter 4, concluding Part I, explores

how women lived up to the feminine image throughout Latin

American history--and introduces the deviants who escaped



IMaurice Duverger, The Political Role of Women
(Pariss UNISCO, 1955), p. 75. My definition of "political
leaders" is adapted from that of Duverger.
2bid., p. 76.

31bid. While Duverger wrote, in 1955, about women's
absence from the councils of state, evidence exists that the
situation not only has not improved, but that actually it
has worsened. See the statistics given on women in parlia-
ments and governments in the years immediately after World
War II and at the present time, Chapter 6.
4Development is a word that rapidly is going out of
style in the Third 4orld. If one lives in Asia, frica or
Latin America, terms like "undeveloped," "underdeveloped"
or even the current "less-developed' imply some standard by
which one's society has been measured and found wanting.
Because this standard usually turns out to be a destern-
style democracy, many groups in the Third World talk less
and less today about development, and more and more about
"liberation," "self-determination" and "cutting the ties of
external dependency" from the industrialized countries.
It is difficult, however, to stop talking entirely about
"development"--and perhaps it is not necessary to do so if
one understands that in the 1970's, development is a process
which will be determined by the Third World peoples them-
selves according to their own criteria of what cultural,
social and economic development means, It is in this spirit
that the word "development will be employed in this study.
5As A. Eugene Havens has noted, almost all economic
definitions of underdevelopment may be summed up in these
simple words: "poverty" or '"oor." ("Social Factors in
Economic Development," a paper presented at the annual meet-
ing of the Rural Sociological Society, August, 1965, Chica-
go, Illinois-.Research Paper No. 5 [Madisons Land Tenure
Center, University of Wisconsin], p. 5.)
6Chester L. Hunt, Social Aspects of Economic Devel-
opment (New York: icGraw Hill, 1966), p. 20.
7In Spanish, the term emancipacion generally is not

used in relation to women's rights, since the word has
another meaning entirely it is a legal term denoting a
young person's freedom from parental authority, granted by
the courts before he or she has reached legal age. Voting
rights for women will be called "female suffrage (in Span-
ish, derecho a sufragio or yoto femenino) and other legal
rights (such as those which permit a married woman to admin-
ister her own property or to dispose of her salary) will be
called "women's rights" (in Spanish derechos de la mujer and
their absence incapacidad de la mu1er).

"ieancipation," reserved here to denote liberation in
the full cultural as well as legal sense, has no exact
equivalent in Spanish, although the term "liberacion" some-
times is used. Its use has no connection with the "Women's
Liberation" movement in the tUnited States, the usage ante-
dating this movement by many years.
8Friedrich Engels, in The Origin of the Family,
Private Property and the State, wrote: "Unless women are
brought to take an independent part not only in political
life generally, but also in daily and universal public ser-
vice, it is no use talking about full and stable democracy,
let alone socialism." (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels,
Selected 4orks, II [Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing
House, 19581, p. 233.)
August Bebel wrote: ". .. Woman was the first human
being that tasted bondage, woman was a alave before the
slave existed.ai (Emphasis in original.) He, too, insisted
that female liberation and socialism were inseparable.
(woman in the Past, Present and Future, trans, by H. B.
Adams dalther [London: Modern Press, 1885], P. 7.)
The extensive socialist literature on women is well sum-
marized in an objective manner by Juliet Mitchell in "Woment
the Longest Revolution," New Left Review, No.4(November-
December, 1966).
9Bert F. Hoselits, Sociological Aspects of Economic
Growth (New York: The Free Press, 1960), Chapter 2.
10bid., pp. 30-32.
11Ibid., pp. 33-34.

12As Mark G. Field observes,
"Beyond the realms of ideology and law, it is in the
areas of population statistics and economics that
one of the basic explanatory principles of the role
of Soviet women may be found. In the Soviet Union,

perhaps unlike other industrial countries, women do
not constitute merely a reserve labor force, nor an
important but still minor part of the labor force; in
the Soviet Union they are an integral and indispens-
able component of that force. .
"There are several factors underlying this condi-
tion. Few Westerners are aware of the unbelievably
high losses of manpower suffered by the Soviet Union
not only as a result of World War II, but also from
the period between the Revolution and 1941. .
("Workers [and Mothers]s Soviet domen Today," in Th
Role and Status of Women in the Soviet Union, ed. by
bonald R. Brown [New York: Columbia University Teach-
ers College, 1968], p. 12.)
13Nelly Festini, "Women in Public Life in Peru,"
The Annals of the American Academy, CCCLXXV (January, 1968),
p, 59. !Hereafter cited as The Annals.
14Magda Portal, Flora Tristan, la precusora (Lima:
Ediciones "Paginas Libres," 1945), p. 10.
15Contrary to widespread popular belief, women hold
relatively (to men) few government positions today in social-
ist countries, including the Soviet Union, China and Cuba.
For example, Norton T. Dodge, noting that the Communist
party's role in shaping policy in the Soviet Union is crucial,
uses women's party activity as an index to their leadership
role in Soviet society. Women play "an extremely limited
role in the top party leadership," membership on the central
committee increasing from two women in 1924 to ten in 1961
(2.4 percent and 3.1 percent of the total), while "the rep-
resentation of women in high government posts is also dis-
proportionately small." He concludes that "the role of
women in the party throughout its history has been far smal-
ler than their contribution generally to the social and eco-
nomic life of the Soviet Union would warrant. Their influ-
ence has been largely in the lower ranks of the party hier-
archy rather than in the upper reaches, which have remained
almost exclusively male." (Woien in the Soviet Economy:
Their Role in Economic, Scientific and Technical Development
[BaltFimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1966], pp. 213-14.)
Writing on women's political activity in the socialist
countries of Eastern Europe, a Polish woman scholar recently
noted that even though the participation of women is a state
policy in all these countries, nevertheless
"In the socialist countries, as in others of
the world, the political activation of women is not

obtained by decrees. . In these countries women
are subject to the traditional restraints of former
periods lack of qualifications of women as com-
pared to men; the stereotype of the woman as chiefly
a housewife; distrust of her managerial ability; and
the difficulties of reconciling professional tasks
with the maternal, family, and home duties of the
women. These factors . take the form not only
of objective restraints, but also create in the
minds of many women complexes of a limited character,
self-imposed restrictions, and permanent limitations
of their possible achievements. (Kamila Chylinska,
"Political Activity of Women in Eastern Europe," The
Annals, CCCLXXV January, 1968], p. 71.)

For documentation on the political leadership roles
assumed by women in Cuba, Yugoslavia, Sweden and other coun-
tries, see Chapter 6.
16Lakshai N. Menon, "From Constitutional Recogni-
tion to Public Office," The Annals, CCCLXXV (January, 1968),
p. 39.
17Levy Cruz, "Brazil," Jomen in the Modern World,
ed. by Raphael Patai (New York: The Free Press, 1967),
p. 221.
8Antonio Dellepiane, Dos patricias ilustres
(Buenos Aires: Coni, 1923), p. 79.

19Typical (but not in admitting it!) is Manfred
Halpern, who says that he "had to overlook a number of area-
wide phenomena that help to mold the process of social
change. The growing liberation of women--psychologically,
intellectually, socially, economically, and legally--is
bound to alter the whole style and substance of Middle East-
ern relationships." (The Politics of Social Change in the
Middle East and North Africa Princeton, N.J.: Princeton
University Press, 19631, p. xiii.)

Another footnote, this time on Latin Americans:

"The question of women's influence on attitudes
to social change in Latin America needs detailed in-
vestigation. . Without the support of women,
especially in traditionally Catholic societies, social
revolution will be a chimera. The high proportion of
women who vote for the Christian Democrats may prove
to be a brake on their radicalism. ''omen's organi-
zations played an important role in the 1964 Brazilian
Revolution. (Alistair Hennessy, "University Students

in National Politics," in The Politics of Conformity
in Latin America, ed. by Claudio Vliz [London:
Oxford University Press, 1967), pp. 139-40.)
Sometimes research in the developing areas includes
women, but does not make any sex breakdowns in the analyses,
For example, Daniel Lerner's Passing of Traditional SoGSiety
Modernizing the Middle East includes women but makes no
distinctions biet-ieen male and female respondents (Glencoe,
Ill.; The Free Press, 1958). The Cornell-Peru study
(under the direction of William F. Whyte and the Instituto
de Studios Peruanos) anticipated making no sex breakdowns
either, and a special run making such a breakdown was pro-
vided to me readily because the directors were planning no
comparisons between men and women in their own analyses.

Other recent studies of men only include Alex Inkeles,
"Participant Citizenship in Six Developing Countries,"
American Political Science Review, LXIII, No. 4 (December,
1969), PP. 110-41 (5,500 men from six countries, including
Argentina and Chile); Joseph A. Kahl, "The Measurement of
Aodernism: A Study of Values in Brazil and Mexico," Latin
American Monographs, No. 12 (Austin: Institute of Latin
American Studies of the University of Texas, 1966) (1,300
men in Brazil and Mexico); and William F. Whyte, High-
level Manpower for Peru, Manpower and Education, ed. by
Frederick H. Harbison and CharlesA. Myers (New York:
McGraw Hill, 1965), pp. 60-71. In this article, i'hyte dis-
cusses the results of a questionnaire administered to 1,834
male high school seniors in Lima and six provincial cities
whom he identifies as "those who are to take over leadership
of Peru in the coming decades." There is no word about what
might be expected of girls.

Among sociologists, Gilberto Freyre's writings include
extensive treatment of women. See especially his "Joman
and Man," Chapter 4 of The Mansions and the Shanties: The
Making of Modern Brazil (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963),
pp. 73-106. David Chaplin gives women extensive attention
in his The Peruvian Industrial Labor Force (Princeton, N.J.:
Princeton University Press, 1967).
omen are treated somewhat inconsistently in Gabriel A.
Almond and Sidney Verba's study of five political cultures,
including the Mexican. There is a short section analyzing
women's attitudes to politics (pp. 387-400); throughout the
book women sometimes are included in the analysis, some-
tLaoj not. For example, in Chapter 11 on orga"iiation mem-
bership, the sexes are compared; in Chapter 12 on political
socialization, no special mention of feminine differences
is made. (The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Demoo-
racy in Five Nations lPrinceton, N.J.: Princeton University
Press, 19631.)

Among the few full-length studies available which treat
women of the Third World are "domen Around the World," a
collection of articles by recognized authorities on the sit-
uation of woman, published as Volume CCCLXXV (January, 1968)
of Anna s of the American Academy; Tara Ali Baig, Women of
d a (Delh: Government of ndia, 1958); Felicitas Klimpel
Alvarado, La mujer chilena: el aporte femenino al progress
de Chile (Santiagot Editorial Andres Bello, 1962); Armand
and Michele Mattelart, La mujer chilena en una nueva sociedad
(Santiagot Editorial del Pacifico, 1968); Raphael Patai, ed.,
Women in the Modern World, cited above; Denise Paulme,
Women of Tropical Africa (Berkeley: University of Califor-
nia press, 1963); Barbara Ward, ed., Women in the New Asia
(Paris: UNESCO, 1963). Not all of the essays in the Annals
volume or in the Patai collection are of equal excellence.
In addition, UNESCO has published a number of mono-
graphs varying in quality on Third world women, including
Takashi Koyama, The Changing Social Position of Women in
Jaan (Paris: UNESCO 1961); Afet Inan, The 'aancipation
of the Turkish doman (Paris: UNESCO, 1962).

Anthropologists appear to be much more aware that women
form one-half the human race. While much of their treatment
is not specifically political, anthropologists do illuminate
the background of the political system. Oscar Lewis in
Children of Sanchez (New York: Random House, 1961) and
Vidai A Puerto Rican Family in the Culture of Poverty--an
Juaan and New York tew Yorkt Random House, 1966) has pre-
sented moving portraits of Mexican and Puerto Rican women.
Margaret Mead has studied the Indian woman in North America
in The Changing Culture of an Indian Tribe (New York: Colum-
bia University Press, 1932), and sex differences as products
of culture in Male and Female: a Study of the Sexes in a
Changing World (New York: William Morrow, 1949); Sex and
Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (New York: .7illiam
Morrow, 1935); and Coming of Age in Samoa (New Yorks Wil-
liam Morrow, 1928).

There is a large psychoanalytically-oriented literature
on women's behavior; several titles and a short appraisal of
this approach are given as Note 13, Chapter 2. Other names
associated with this school (but not treating political
themes specifically) are Helene Deutsch, Erik H. Erikson,
Marie Bonapart, Marie N. Robinson, Therese Benedek and Phyl-
lis Greenacre. These students of Freud stress biological
differences between men and women as common to all cultures
and determinant for behavior. It may be well to reveal my
own bias against the Freudian psychologists; it seems to me
that while they have many valuable insights on sex differ-
ences, they go too far in asserting that all feminine char-
acteristics can be explained on a biological basis.

For other titles on women outside the social sciences,
especially history and biography, see Notes 1 and 51,
Chapter 4.

20Many of these works will be cited in the pages to
follow. To even begin to list the most important titles
would be an impossible task. The author has 30 full-length
analyses in her personal library that she considers indis-
pensable. Recently Lucinda Cisler has compiled a bibliog-
raphy of works on women which runs to well over 300 titles$
Women: A Bibliography (New York: October, 1969), Edition

21Paul H. Chombart de Lauwe, "Introduction" to
"Images of Women in Society," International Social Science
Journal (UNESCO), XIV, No. 1 (1962), p. 13. Well may
SLaue, who himself advocates a new role and image for
women, assert that too many still are influenced uncon-
sciously by old patterns: he himself falls into the trap
of masculine bias. Note that in the above quote the planner
indubitably is male, and not only the use of the masculine.
pronoun gives the game away.
22Merle Kling, "The State of Research on Latin
American Political Science," Social Science Research on
Latin America, ed. by Charles Wagley (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1964), p. 193.

23Marjorie Gans studied husbands and wives of Bra-
silia, Brazil, adapting Inkeles and Smith's OM Scale (see
Note 19, Paragraph 4) and finding that women were more tra-
ditional on several measures of modernity than men. ("Mod-
ernity of Husbands and Wives in Brasilia, Brazil," M.A.
thesis, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1968.)

Brunilda Velez, using data on the Chilean national elec-
tions of 1958 gathered by Eduardo Hcunuy and his associates,
found women to be less interested in politics and more tra-
ditional in party affiliation and voting behavior than men.
("Woments Political Behavior in Chile," M.A. thesis, Uni-
versity of California, Berkeley, 1964.)
2Charles d. Anderson, Politics and Economic Change
in Latin Americal The Governing of Festless Nations
Prrince6ton, N.J. : D. Van Nostrand, 1967), p. v.
25For ex..i.,ple, on Harbison and Myers' "Composite
Index" (which rates 75 countries on per capital income, per-
centage of population in agriculture, number of teachers,
scientists, engineers, physicians and dentists, percentage
enrolled in higher education and expenditure on higher

education in relation to national income), Peru ranks No.
37 (approxima ing the rank of Turkey and Iraq) while Chile
ranks No. 51 (approximating Greece and Hungary). (Frederick
Harbison and Charles A. Myers, Education, Manpower and Eco-
nomic Growth: Strategies of Human Resource Development
tNew York: McGraw-Hill, 19641, pp. 46-48.)

On per capital income, Chile ranks No. 3 (of 23 Latin
American and Caribbean nations), Peru ranks No. 8; on per-
centage of population economically active, Chile ranks No.
10, Peru No. 20; on number of inhabitants per physician,
Chile ranks No. 5 and Peru ranks No. 12. (Rank order is cal-
culated from Organizacion de Estados Americanos, America
en cifras, 1967 situation economic [Washington', D.C.
Pan American Union, 1969], Cdro. 342-12, p. 37; situation
social, Cdro. 408-01, R. 95; and Cdro. 406-19, 80. ere-
after cited as OAS, America en cifras: situation social.)

26Parsons claims that it is necessary for the devel-
opment of the child that his parents play differentiated
roles, an "expressive" or feminine and an "instrumental" or

"The instrumental-expressive distinction we
interpret as essentially the differentiation of
function, and hence of relative influence, in terms
of 'external' vs. internal' functions of the sys-
tem. The area of instrumental function concerns
relations of the system to its situation outside
the system, to meeting the adaptive conditions of
its maintenance of equilibrium, and 'instrumentally'
establishing the desired relations to external goal
objects. The expressive area concerns the 'inter-
nal' affairs of the system, the maintenance of inte-
grative relations between the members, and the regu*
lation of the patterns and tension levels of its
component units." (Emphasis in original.)
(Talcott Parsons and Robert F. Bales, Family, Sociali-
zation and Interaction Process [Glencoe, I111. The
Free Press, 19561, p. 47.)

27Seminar on "El nuevo y eterno femenino," Ercilla,
XXXIV, No. 1740 (23 al 29 de octubre, 1968), p. 40.
28Luis Hernandez Parker, "La mujer en political "
Revista del Domingo de El Mercurio, March 26, 1967, p. 11.
291 am indebted to the recently published study of
Armand and Michele Mattelart, La mujer chilena en una nueva
sociedad (cited above), for documenting, among Chilean
women in general, attitudes I had discovered among my

interviews and for crystallizing the image of the super
madre (although the Mattelarts do not use the term) in my
30Almond and Verba point out that "wherever the con-
sequences of women's suffrage have been studied, it would
appear that women are somewhat more frequently apathetic,
parochial, conservative, and sensitive to the personality,
emotional, and esthetic aspects of political life and elec-
toral campaigns" (p. 388). Some of those who have so noted
include Angus Campbell et al. The American Voter (New York:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 19601, pp. 483-93; Duverger, The
Political Role of 'lomen, pp. 50-66; Mattei Dogan and Jacques
Narbonhe, Lea Frangaises facent a la politique (Paris: A.
Colin, 1955); Gans, cited in Note 23 above; Martin Gruberg,
Women in American Politics: An Assessment and Sourcebook
(Oshkosh, Wis.: Academia Press, 1968), pp. 32-33; Fred I.
Greenstein, "Sex Related Political Differences in Child-
hood," The Journal of Politics, XXIII, No. 2 (May, 1961),
pp. 354-55; Fred 1. Greenstein, Children and Politics (New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1965), pp. 107-11; Viola
Klein, The Feminine Charactert History of an Ideology (Lon-
don: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1946), pas
Robert E. Lane, Political Life: Jhy and How People Get
Involved in Politics (New York: The Free Press, 1959),
pp. 209-16; dard M. Morton, doman Suffrage in Mexico Gaines-
ville: University of Florida Press, 1962), Chapters 1-6,
especially Chapter 2; Gabriele Sandmann-Bremme, Die Poli-
tische Rolle der Frau in Deutschland (Gotcingent Vanden-
hoeck & Ruprecht, 1956), pp. 28-67, and Velez, cited in
Note 23.
Women's voting behavior is studied in more detail at the
beginning of Chapter 6.
31Mirta Aguirre, Influencia de la mujer en Ibero-
america (Habana: Servicio Femenino para la Defensa Civil,
1948), p. 106.
32Nor is this emphasis on moral issues very differ-
ent from the early days of the North American feminist move-
ment. As William F. O'Neill points out,

"iJThe striking thing about organized women was
the degree to which they upheld the traditional
womanly concerns for altruism and benevolence, to
the point where almost everything they did was jus-
tified in these terms. . [romen had always to
identify themselves with the highest moral and
social good to excuse even relatively modest enter-
prises. In order to break with the victorian

definition of appropriate female behavior, they had
to invoke it . [b]y justifying their activities
on the grounds that society was an extension of the
home and woman's work in it merely an enlargement
of her maternal powers. . ." (Everyone Was Brave:
The Rise and Fall of Feminism in America Chicago:
Quadrangle Books, 19695 pp. 351 and 353.)
33Perhaps this situation is changing. At the last
meeting of the Inter-American Commission of women held in
La Paz and Lima (November, 1969), seminars were planned on
rural development, popular participation, leadership, gov-
ernment participation, agrarian reform, rural extension and
community work. Five peasant women active in community
work in each country were to be invited. (Alliance for
Progress Weekly Newsletter, VII, No. 36 [September 8, 1969].)
Miss Saira Arias, prominent Argentine women's leader,
indicated to me in 1967 that the Commission was trying to
change its orientation. Women's meetings, she said, should
"not deal with a lot of resolutions which don't mean any-
thing anyway," but should be occasions when women could
learn from economists, demographers and other experts. "We
women need to find out what the men are talking about if we
want to participate," Miss Arias confided.
34Lane, p. 212; and Seymour Martin Lipset, "The
Sources of the Radical Right," in The New American Right,
ed. by Daniel Bell (New York: Harper, 1955), pp. 244-45.
350nly recently have men been admitted to the
Schools of Social Service in Peru and Chile; in 1966, the
first 3 men were graduated in Chile, and by 1968, 23 had
been graduated. In Peru, in 1967, there were 5 men students
at the School of Social Service, Universidad de San Marcos,
in Ljma. (Statistics from Chile furnished by the Seccion
de Titulos y Grados, Universidad de Chile.)
36Freyre, p. 74.
37Lane, p. 216. Sex differences on moral issues
also are noted by Greenstein, Children and Politics,
pp. 107-8.
38David Riesman, "Orbits of Tolerance, Interviews,
and Elites," Public Opinion Quarterly, XX, No. 2 (Spring,
1956), pp. 49-7T3. N
39samuel Stouffer, Communism, Conformity and Civil
Liberties (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1955), PP. 131-55.

40Irving Louis Horowitz, introduction to Masses in
Latin America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970),
p. 20.
41Victor Alba calculates that only one in five
inhabitants-is registered to vote; the level of participa-
tion sometimes falls lower if those who are registered but
fail to vote are subtracted. He gives the following per-
centages of population participating in the elections held
closest to the time of his study (May, 1969):

Argentina 45%
Dominican Republic 33%
Uruguay 36%
Venezuela 34%
Nicaragua 30%
Costa Rica less than 20%
El Salvador 14% each
Honduras )

As he points out, these statistics show no relation to lit-
eracy, but do have a "definite relation to the degree of
oligarchic domination the more oligarchic a country, the
lower its rate of participation in elections." (The Latin
Americans [New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1970T1 p. 350.)
42For a discussion of how new elites gain access to
the political system, see Anderson, pp. 89-101.
43Literally, masculinizedd woman"--the castrating

Freyre, p. 75.

45Ibid., p. 74.
46t should be clear that no argument is being made
here that women make no contribution to development. domen
productively employed in the labor force, for example,
obviously contribute to the gross national product. The
question is one of participation at the management level,
both in the economy and polity.
47"By and large, the Japanese people (including
women) still conceive of an adult woman's place in the home
and in a position subordinate to her husband," write Edna
Cooper Masuoka, Jitsuichi Masuoka and Nozomu Kamura, "Role
Conflicts in the Modern Japanese Family," Social Forces,

XLI, No. 1 (October, 1962), p. 5. Women over 20 years of
age participating in higher education were only about 11
percent of all students in 1957. (Chester L. Hunt, "Female
Occupational Roles and Urban Sex Ratios in the United
States, Japan and the Philippines," Social Forces, XLIII,
No. 3 fMarch, 1965], p. 411.) In 1967, they formed 1.4 per-
cent of the house of representatives in the Japanese diet;
1.6 percent of assemblies at the prefectural level, 1.1
percent of city assemblies and 0.6 percent of town and vil-
lage assemblies. (Taki Fujita, "Women and Politics in
Japan," The Annals, CCCLXXV [January, 1968], p. 93.)

48Dodge, Women in the Soviet Economy, pp. 214-15.
49See particularly the discussion in Chaplin, The
Peruvian Industrial Labor Force, pp. 105, 167, 172 (Footnote
3), and especially pp. 189-94; David Chaplin, "Peruvian
Social Mobility Journal of Inter-American Studies, X, No.
4 (October, 1968), p. 551; "Too Few Men? Let the Women
Work," The Economist, November 22, 1969, p. 44; Field,
"Workers (and Mothers)s Soviet Women Today," cited above,
pp. 12-14; and Jeanne Claire Ridle, "Demographic Change
and the Roles and Status of Women, in The Annals, CCCLXXV
(January, 1968), pp. 15-25. There is an extended consider-
ation of these questions in Chapter 4 of this study.
50Motives of women for taking jobs and the discon-
tinuities of their work/career patterns are discussed in
Elizabeth Faulkner Baker, Technology and Woman's Work (New
York: Columbia University ress, 1964), Chapter 22; Ell
Ginzberg, Life Styles of Educated Women (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1966), pp. 5-14; Alva Myrdal and Viola
Klein, Women's Two Roles: Home and Work (Londons Routlege
& Kegan Paul, 1956); Edna G. Rostow, "Conflict and Accommo-
dation," in Robert Jay Lifton, The Woman in America (Boston:
Beacon Press, 1964), pp. 211-35; and Robert Smuts, Women and
Work in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959).
51As Kamila Chylinska observes, where the initial
incentive to undertake a job may be the necessity to
increase family income, the experience of working may trans-
form a woman's life ambitions, and those who become more
qualified do not leave their positions so readily when the
need ceases to exist (p. 69). We might see the process as
the waves of an ocean breaking upon a beach: each wave con-
tains women who enter the labor force for a set period to
earn money for a crisis or to stretch the family income; as
the wave recedes, it leaves behind a few women who remain
permanently in the labor force.
Dodge notes such a phenomenon among Soviet women workers.

He says "As a result of the more attractive nature of 'men-
tal' work, women do not withdraw from semiprofessional and
professional employment as early as they do from unskilled
and manual work. Examination of the age distribution of
employed women indicates that in almost every occupation
involving mental work the peak employment of women is in the
age group 30 to 39, while in occupations involving physical
labor the peak is almost invariably in the age group 20 to
29" (p. 187).
52David Chaplin, "Feminism and Economic Development,"
occasional paper (typewritten), p. 1.
53Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (New York:
W. W. Norton, 1963), summarizes the literature prior to that
date. Jessie Bernard continues the discussion in "The
Status of Women in Modern Patterns of Culture," The Annals,
CCCLXXV (January, 1968), pp. 8-14.
54Chaplin, "Feminism and Economic Development,"
p. 2.
55"Prosperity Changes Women's Role," Milwaukee Jour-
nal, November 16, 1969.
56Dodge, Table 3, p. 14 and Table 21, p. 32. Dodge
cautions care in interpreting the decline. Part of the
decline is, of course, accounted for by the increase in num-
bers of young women in higher education.
57The influence of Moslem traditions on rates of
employment for women will be discussed in Chapter 4. It is
interesting to note that rates in the Moslem areas of the
Soviet Union closely approximate those for Peru which also
has had its share of Moorish traditions. It is these areas
(Usbek, Kazakh, Tadzhik and Turkmen Republics) which suf-
fered less loss of male population in World War II, and the
pressure to employ women is not so great as in Belorussia
or the Ukraine (Dodge, p. 42).

(Figures for 1959)*

Participation Rate as
Total Labor Force % of All Men & All
Men Women Men Women
RSFSR (Russia) 51 49 56 43
Ukrainian SSR 56 44 56 5
Belorussian SSR 52 48 56 59
Kazakh SSR 63 37 51 40
Turkmen SSR 63 37 50 41

*Based upon figures given in Dodge, Tables 102, p. 182;
and Tables 1, 2, 3, 4 and 12, Appendix II, pp. 262-66.

58Dodge, Table 21, p. 32; and Table 1, Appendix II,
p. 262.
59Ethel J. Alpenfels, "Women in the Professional
World" in Beverly Brenner Cassara, American Women: The
Changing Image (Boston: Beacon Press, 1962), p. 74. The
figure had climbed again slightly by 1965 to 37 percent of
all professional and technical workers. Although many
women moved into professional and technical occupations in
the 25-year period from 1940 to 1965, the proportion of
women in these occupations declined as men moved into them
at a much more rapid rate. Men had two advantages: free
tuition in colleges and universities after World War II and
Korea and an edge on careers in science and engineering,
fields which women have not yet entered in large numbers.
(United States Department of Labor, 1965 Handbook on Women
Workers [Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office,
1966], p. 91. Hereafter cited as U.S. Women's Bureau, 196
60United States Department of Labor, Women's Bureau,
Trends in Educational Attainment of Women (Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1968), Tables 4 and 5, pp. 12-13.
Figures for 1968 furnished to me in xeroxed form. Hereafter
cited as U.S. Dept. of Labor, Trends in Educational...
61Dodge, p. 195.

62Women's Bureau, 1965 Handbook, p. 182.

63Dodge, Table 57, P. 112.
6Norton T. Dodge, comment made at a symposium on
Russian women and published in Brown, p. 53.

65Changing admission regulations to institutions of
higher learning in the Soviet Union favor persons who either
have served in the military or worked two or more years,
rather than those who do well on examinations. The former
provisions are stacked against women since girls do not
serve in the military and, if they work, are likely to
marry and thus be diverted from educational goals. On the
contrary, if admissions are based on examination results and
past academic performance (as formerly in the Soviet Union),
then women are favored since women's early intellectual
development and tendency to do better on examinations are
by now well established.

It is interesting to note, in this context, that women's
enrollment in Chilean universities has increased dramatic-
ally in the past few years, partially as a result of their
performance on a national entrance exam and aptitude test
that now counts (along with high school grades) heavily in
favor of university admission. Professor Dodge admits that
it is difficult to determine if the Soviet Government delib-
erately introduced the new regulations mentioned above
because of "the lower productivity of women observed in the
professions" (he saw some evidence that a quota system may
have been introduced in order to reduce the proportion of
women in some fields) or if other factors are at work. Will
Chile follow suit in an effort to divert the relatively less
productive women from taking the coveted places in her uni-
versities? (Information on new admissions policies in
Soviet institutions based on comments of Dodge in Brown,
PP. 52-53, and Dodge, pp. 113-14.)
66Nicholas DeWitt, comments recorded in Brown, p. 52.
67Dodge, Table 21, p. 32; and Women's Bureau, L%64
Handbook, Table 7, p. 19.
68Zena Harman, "Israel," in Patai, p. 283.

6Ibid., p. 288.
70Rivkah Bar-Yosef and Ilana Einhorn, "The Position
of Women in Israel," a paper presented at the Conference of
Mediterranean Studies, Athens, December, 1966, and reprinted
as a special supplement to "Women in the Middle East and
North Africa," The Annals, OCCLXXV (January, 1968), p. 80.

71E izabeth Sutherland, The Youngest Revolution (New
York: The Dial Press, 1969), p. 171.
72~Ib.g pp. 172-73.

T3_ib., p. 174.
741bid., pp. 180 and 184.
75Richard R. Fagen, The Transformation of Political
CSlture in Cuba (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1969)
p, 134.
I76bid., p. 105.
77Ibid., p. 109.
78Maurice Zeitlin, Revolutionary Politics and the
Cuban Working Class (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University
Press, 1967), pp. 120-31.
79Dodge, p. 86.
80bid., p. 76.
81lbd.,, p. 80.
82Women's aspirations are discussed in detail in
Chapter 9.
83Klein, The Feminine Character, pp, 4-5.
84ruberg, p. 33.
85Country not given to preserve anonymity.
86Gruberg, pp. 16-17.



Woman is silent in history. With a few notable

exceptions--the great women saints, some outstanding queens,

the mistresses of kings and conquistadores, women novelists

and poets, the women of the salons in France--woman is car-

ried along passively and does not act in history as a per-

sonage. The stage of history is peopled by men.

The Latin American woman--again with a few Manuelas

and Michaelas1 as outstanding exceptions--perhaps has been

the most silent of all. Cloistered for centuries by the

intricate taboos of the Latin tradition, until fairly recent

times she interacted with others only within the family.

Only rarely did the Spanish woman accompany the

conqueror to the New World; since he himself did not expect

to remain once he had gained riches and fame, she waited for

him in Spain. She played little part--except as concubine

and campfollower--when men fought the wars of independence

and attempted to forge a community of nations from the

chaos of the former colonies. Nor did she appear when

men's visions of endless progress and a cosmic race gave

way to generations of cuartalatos and caudillos.



Now she is visible. Yet the heritage of Spain still

weighs so heavily upon her that a modern observer, who

recently made the first systematic, in-depth study of women

ever done in Latin America, can assert that the traditional

images of womanly behavior "do not in the least permit us

to foresee a role for her in the transformation of present-

day society."2
It is true, in Latin America and elsewhere, that

woman often is glimpsed in the background of great men's

enterprises. However, as Virginia Woolf points out, before

the eighteenth century, "we know nothing detailed, nothing
perfectly true and substantial, about her";3 woman is "all

but absent from history." Miss Woolf continues

Occasionally an individual woman is mentioned,
an Elizabeth, or a Mary; a queen or a great lady.
But by no possible means could middle-class women
with nothing but brains and character at their com-
mand have taken part in any one of the great move-
ments which, brought together, constitute the his-
torian's view of the past,.

Even in an anthropological sense, woman's contribu-

tion rarely is taken into account when history is written.

Erik Erikson accurately deplores academic minds that "blithe-

ly go on writing whole world histories (whole anthropologi-

cal accounts] without a trace of women. ..5 What we are

talking about here, however, is another kind of historical

absence which no one realistically can dispute--the rarity

of women as identifiable actors in history, as movers and

shakers of society, as decision makers in governments,

legislatures and courts of law. Those few books written

about "women's contribution to history" are thin and apolo-

getic volumes. Mrs. Beard manages to dredge up a group of

historical women, but very few of these honestly can be

characterized as "forces"; moreover, they are precisely the

exceptions,6 the result of some "accident of birth or crisis

which has enabled a woman of ability to shine in a male

society."7 Mrs. Beard's thesis that woman's exclusion from

formal, written history is a nasty plot of her own male col-

leagues will not-to use a homely feminine metaphor--wash.

Others besides Mrs, Beard have tried valiantly to

give women a larger place in history. The women in Pythag-

oras' circle often are mentioned; Burckhardt identifies six

or seven, including Theano, the master's wife, and Damo, his

daughter. It is difficult to see how history has been

changed by these few women who are no more than names to us.

Moreover, Pythagoras' movement or system of teaching was

not, in the opinion of Burckhardt, purely philosophical, but

moral and religious. Had it been otherwise, he says,

"women would have had no part in it and most likely would
have been flatly excluded. The same argument could be

made about another group always mentioned by the apologists

for women's role in history, the women collaborators of Paul

the Apostle.

Then there were the Roman matrons and later the

chatelaines of the great medieval estates, daughters and

widows of knights killed in the many wars which were the

main business of the times. Some of these women apparently

managed their own economic affairs and had a measure of

power and influence. Yet they are at most minor characters

on the stage of history. If one of them ever set foot in

the councils of the rulers and powers of her day, we do not

know her name.

Moreover, the venerated Roman matrons and the rich,

courted ladies of the castles--celebrated by the trouba-

dors--were few and exceptional; their special status did not

affect the common woman. In the epoch between, the freedom

and equality of women in the Germanic tribes probably was

overrated, as Ludovici and others have pointed out. He

reminds us that no matter what the glamorous Arthurian

legends or the medieval chansons may insinuate, women gener-

ally had only four careers open to them, none of which led

to historical eminence by any direct route--"wife and cook-

housekeeper, nun, witch and courtesan."10

Even in pre-history, women do not seem to have

shared in the ruling and decision making as much as once

was supposed. The existence of matriarchical societies in

significant numbers, a theory revived by Bachofen in the

last century and in vogue during the 1930's after the publi-

cation of Briffault's The Mothers,11 has been all but dis-

proved by subsequent researchers who have dealt with the

interesting question of whether mankind did not at least


begin his civilized life under women's rule. Elisabeth Mann

Borgese does point out, however, that while social anthro-

pologists tend to agree woman did not govern, still her
role in pre-individual society--as provider, as
healer, as priestess and witch, as pivot, at any
rate, of social organization--was considerably
more important than the one she has played in
later times.12

It is beyond the competence of the author and the

boundaries of this study to enter into the long controversy

over whether the active masculine and passive feminine roles

in most cultures result from men and women's distinctive

biology and psychology, or whether the feminine character

simply is itself the product of history and environment.

Simone de Beauvoir has written the classic work setting

forth this latter view. Perhaps we are dealing with nothing

more (this is the author's view) than a question of physical

tendencies, culturally reinforced.13 The question cannot

yet be answered in any case because neither the biological

nor social sciences have enough evidence to decide whether

or not woman has a "special nature." Moreover, the answer

to the admittedly intriguing question of how the feminine

character evolved does not affect the fact of woman's

meagre contribution to history.
What can be documented, however, are the expecta-

tions society holds in relation to women's role in the fam-

ily, the community and government, the "images" of woman

which form the basis for her own as well as the male view

of proper womanly behavior.

Enough work now has been done by social psycholo-

gists to demonstrate how powerfully the human person is

influenced in his actions by the view he himself (and his

society) has of the behavior proper to his status and sex.

How women (and men) view women in policy-making roles in

Latin America affects how women act. Robert K. Merton, in

originating the concept of the "self-fulfilling prophecy,"

quotes the dean of American sociologists, W. I. Thomas:

"If men define situations as real, they are real in their

consequences. "1 Thus, as de Lauwe observes, the ways in

which people perceive the status of women can either delay

or accelerate the changes in their actual status; on the

other hand, images also may serve as agents of change.15

Some connection therefore can safely be postulated between

the images of womanly passivity and inferiority prevalent

in Latin America and women's actual behavior in these


Latin American society is a long way from taking on

androy@gnous characteristics. The fact that girls now wear

pants to shop on the Jiron Union in Lima--a phenomenon not

seen until the mid-1960's--should not fool us into thinking

that male-female are no longer distinctive statuses in

Latin America.

All the predominant images forming what might be

called the "feminine myth" in Latin America consistently


place woman in a subordinate, passive role; the images con-

stantly are re-inforced and perpetuated by the passive role

she has, in fact, until very lately played in social and

political life. In an ascriptive status system, it is dif-

ficult indeed to break this cycle where the feminine myth

and the reality have for centuries nurtured each other; in

such a system, a woman is judged "successful" not on her

individual capabilities and accomplishments as a person, but

on how faithfully she reflects the prevailing images of


Traditional ideas on womanly behavior are so decis-

ive, indeed, that they seem to influence Socialist and Com-

munist women (and their men) almost as strongly as women in

general, a fact demonstrated in the responses of leftist

women in the questionnaire phase of this study, as well as

by observation of their style of political activity. In

spite of abundant socialist rhetoric on the necessity for

complete equality of men and women in building socialist

society, the Latin American male is macho first and politico

second: hence, he apparently expects very little shoulder-

to-shoulder comradeship from the women of his party. There

are outstanding exceptions; yet, on the whole, the few Com-

munist and Socialist women who hold public office often

define their political role in terms of respaldo (backing

up) of the male and concentrate on typically feminine activ-

ities within their parties. This is true even though leftist


parties are the only ones in Latin America without separate

women's sections. The Latin American ideal of the revolu-

tionary woman has been spelled out by Camilo Torres, the

Colombian priest who turned guerrillero and was killed by

the army:

The Colombian woman has been and will con-
tinue to be the mainstay of the revolutionary man.
She must be at the heart of the revolution. If
every revolutionary man had a wife at home who
knew how to encourage him, how to understand him,
we would have many more men committed to the

Thus home and family responsibilities generally are

put first even by women of the left in Chile and Peru. Dra.

Maria Elena Carrerra de Corbalan has been a Socialist from

her university days, and in Chile, this means to be to the

left of the Communist party. In 1967 her party asked her

to run for her husband's senate seat after his death in an

auto accident, and she won it easily in a by-election. But

Dra. Carrerra was very definite about the role of a revolu-

tionary wife; until that time, she said, she purposely had

taken on only short-term political responsibilities because

of her home and profession (she is a medical doctor):

While my husband lived, I felt I could best
make my contribution to the revolution by backing
him up, relieving him of home responsibilities,
making a tranquil atmosphere for him to come home

Octavio Paz, among other Latin American thinkers,

believes that the Latin American woman is influenced so

powerfully by what society expects of her that her own


instincts and feelings play very little part in her behav-

ior. Spanish American society, he says, believes woman

should confront the world with "an impassive smile":

She should be "decent" in the face of erotic ex-
citements and "long-suffering" in the face of
adversity. In either event her response is neither
instinctive nor personal: it conforms to a general
model, and it is the defensive and passive aspects
of this model . that are emphasized, in a gamut
ranging from modesty and "decency" to stoicism,
resignation and impassivity.18

What are the dominant images of woman making up the
"general model" of which Paz speaks? Where do Latin Ameri-

can ideas about woman's nature and proper behavior origi-

nate? And has the Latin American woman, in fact, behaved

according to society's expectations? The answer to the

first two questions is the subject of this chapter and the

next. The way women have corresponded to--and on rare

occasions, fought--their society's images of correct femi-

nine behavior is the subject of Chapters 4 and 5.

The word decent is with reason set off in quotation

marks by Paz in his remarks above on the Latin model of

womanly behavior. Decency is a key concept in any charac-

terization of desirable womanly deportment; moreover, it is

a word one hears very often not only about women, but in

relation to anything which is capable of passing public

muster. A house, a neighborhood, an article of clothing,

an occupation, all can be decent and hence deserving of



It will be obvious that the word, in Spanish, means

a great deal more than simply "decent"; it connotes honesty,

decorousness and gentility, modesty, reasonableness, seri-

ousness, appropriateness--even neatness and order!--in sum,

the virtuous and the proper. Probably the most fundamental

classification a Latin American (whether male or female)

makes of women is their division into decent and indecent.

It is a distinction which cuts across class lines and deter-

mines how one acts towards individual women. A poor, uned-

ucated pobladora may come to do the washing in a Chilean

home, but if she is gente decent, she will be treated with

respect by the duena de casa, and she will accept such

respect as her due. But a woman who is not considered

decent, especially if she is of a different race or social

class, is considered fair game by a man.19

The mujer decent (it should be clear that I am

speaking here of the image, the myth, and not necessarily

of everyday reality, although behavior tends towards and

often approximates the "ideal") is pre-eminently the madre

and duena de casa. Ideally, a girl passes without any

detours from the house of her father to the house of her

husband, there to fulfill her destiny as the mother of chil-

dren and the dutiful wife who carefully performs all her

domestic tasks with a view towards her husband's comfort

and convenience.

The madre and dueia, again in the ideal, is charac-

terized by her submission to her husband's authority and by

her silent abnegacion, resignacion, in the face of the

inevitable sufferings which are the lot of woman in this

life. Not the least of these will be her stoical acceptance

of the fact that her husband is inclined, in rhetoric if not

in practice, to put her on a pedestal: she is la esposa,

the wife, and must be protected from any hint of dishonor

and scandal. Precisely because she is decent, the guardian

of his hearth and the mother of his children, the wife must

also accept the fact that her husband often does not con-

sider her the proper object for his sexual satisfaction.

She understands that he will seek to fulfill such needs

elsewhere, and she will be expected to accept this behavior

as perfectly natural, especially since in the ideal view

she herself is too pure to take pleasure in sex. What every

woman knows in Latin America is that "los hombres son asi"--

men are like that.20

The only other kind of woman (aside from the nun)

which a Latin American generally can conceive is the muJer

de mala vida, the woman of doubtful reputation who somehow

has escaped the careful tutelage of priest, father, brother

and husband, and in whom woman's weakness and propensity

towards evil therefore have been allowed to go unchecked.

There seemingly is no alternative, at least at the concep-

tual level. If a woman is not actively exercising her role

as mother and homemaker, or fulfilling her apprenticeship

under her father's roof for woman's universal vocation,21


she must perforce be dedicating herself to a life of immor-

ality and even wild license. Paz characterizes the Spanish

attitude towards woman as "very simple":

It is expressed quite brutally and concisely in
these two sayings$ "A woman's place is in the
home, with a broken leg" and "Between a female
saint and a male saint, a wall of mortared stone,
Woman is a domesticated wild animal, lecherous
and sinful from birth, who must be subdued with a
stick and guided by the "reins of religion."22

Thus, other images fill out and complement (and do not

basically contradict) the image of the Latin American wife

and mother in her submission, self-sacrifice and purity:

the woman as physically and morally weak, as lacking Judg-

ment and reason, as prone to evil, as a peligro--a danger

to herself and to man unless she submits herself to his

guidance and authority.23
A seemingly small but often mentioned detail of cur-

rent custom illustrates the above attitude. In Lima and in
most cases in Santiago, a single woman--no matter what her

age, professional status and official position--cannot live
alone if she cares about her reputation. In over a year in

the former city, with many inquiries and following up of

leads on this point, I discovered only one young unmarried

professional who had her own apartment--and lived in it.
When one finally has some friends de confianza one learns

about an interesting alternative--the "penthouse." Girls

joke among themselves that if their families do not let up

on the supervision or permit this or that freedom, "I'm

going to get my penthouse." This is, of course, not any-

thing so pretentious as the name suggests, but a secret

apartment where a girl can decorate to suit her own tastes,

keep books and records and receive trusted friends. But she

does not sleep there; she locks up and goes "home" to her

father's house and the existence of the apartment never is

revealed to family or relatives.

Needless to say, only girls of the higher classes

with their own bank accounts and professionals earning high

salaries actually have penthouses. When a professional

friend of mine decided to invest a salary raise in a pent-

house, I pointed out that her married sister with whom she

lived would be bound to hear about it sooner or later. My

friend, who is on perfectly good terms with her sister,

knew, however, that this conduct would be unacceptable.

"And if I don't tell her, maybe I'll have four or five years

free of nagging before she finds out."

Part of the reason women do not become independent

is the fact that they are psychologically bound to family.

In Santiago, one of the top women in the Frei government,

a professional well into her fifth decade of life, told met

No, I definitely do not think that the Chilean
woman is completely emancipated. It is true that
she now can study and work at nearly anything, but
in herself she is not really free yet. For
example, many professionals I know--single women-
continue to live at home with their families, We
are psychologically bound to them. Moreover, it
just is not well-looked upon here for a woman to
live alone, and she will be sensitive to the bad
interpretations which could be put upon it.

I myself am one of these: I live with my
mother and aunt. It often is very inconvenient
professionally to continue to live at home it
would be much better to have my own apartment
where I could entertain colleagues and friends.
Now, because the only other alternative is to
bring professional friends home where they get
mixed up in family affairs for no good reason, I
have to entertain by meeting my friends and busi-
ness acquaintances in a salon de te. With me it
is not an economic question: I could afford to
have my own place to live, apart from my family.
But I do not.24

An authoritative corroboration that traditional

norms of behavior for women still prevail is the recent

study of women in Chile by the Mattelarts. This study

shows that, in spite of the modern ideas often enunciated

especially by young professionals and university students,

traditional views still lurk very near the surface of the

most modern-appearing attitudes.

The dominant quality both men and women of all

social classes look for in married women (and marriage is

overwhelmingly confirmed by the respondents throughout the

study as the only appropriate feminine vocation) is that

they be "de su casa," that is, dedicated totally to their

role of wife and mother. The Mattelarts comment that in

this emphasis on woman's traditional role

it is easy to discover the persistence of the cus-
tom of semi-enclosure, a custom that, for that mat-
ter, seems most acceptable and natural for the
majority of the rural and urban lower classes. The
woman who goes out, who does not dedicate herself
to her home as is her duty, rapidly is identified
with the woman of easy life.

No ser salidora [that is, not be a gadabout] is

a quality that continually emerges in the replies
of the country women, the lower classes in the
city, and the wives of fishermen. "Not out in the
street amusing herself," "Busy herself only with
her house, her husband and children," "Stay at
home"--such is the program for the married woman
that women of the lower classes outline.25

Women of the higher classes, while certainly not

physically confined to the home, express notions of wifely

duty in their own terms in the Mattelart study--such as the

necessity to be well organized, to save and to budget. The

overriding ideal, however, as it emerges from the study is

identical to women of all social classes: "ser buena

madre," "ser buena esposa," to be a good wife and mother.

They join in "a universal language that erases class dif-

ferences" to affirm that the married woman's major concern

should be "to behave well in relation to her husband," "to

be attentive to the husband," "to help one's husband." In

the lower classes, the notion of respect that the woman

ought to have for her husband is much emphasized.26

In another part of their study, the Mattelarts query

men about their ideas on man's authority in the home. There

are strong tendencies among all social classes for men to

declare in theory that authority in the home ought to be

shared between husband and wife, ranging from 75 to 80 per-

cent in the lower rural classes to about half among urban

men (although-.probably because they are the most tradi-

tional--90 percent of the men of the higher class think the

man should be boss in the home).27

However, when actual behavior is investigated, in

this case management of the family finances and participa-

tion in decisions on how the family budget will be spent,

then the man emerges overwhelmingly as the decision maker.

In all social classes, women generally make decisions on

daily expenditures; however, when it comes to important

purchases of furniture or equipment, payment of income

taxes, rent and home maintenance outlay, and funds for

vacation and amusement, then the man decides, often without

consulting his wife. In the case of vacations and enter-

tainment, for example, one of the areas where one might well

expect women to have their say, in the upper class 52 per-

cent of the men make the decision without consultation with

their wives (the woman decides for the family in 6 percent

of the cases; for the rest, husband and wife decide

together). In the lower and lower-middle classes, both

urban and rural, the figure rises to 60 percent of the men

who decide this question alone, and in the upper-middle

class, the number rises to 70 percent!28

Amanda Labarca, writing of the Chilean middle class,

discusses the division of responsibility within the family

S The husband manages the business and income
of the household, and would usually consider it a
proof of weakness to discuss such questions with
his wife. The wife runs the house and almost
always supervises the education of the children.29

Moving from the home to the public arena, in the

Mattelarts' opinion, an overemphasis on the role of wife and


mother as the only proper vocation for women seriously lim-

its woman's contribution to and integration in modern

society. While properly the subject of the next chapter,

some of the consequences to behavior are mentioned here to

demonstrate the prevalence of the old images.
For example, even though the woman of the middle and

higher classes has for some time had access to university

training in Chile, the Mattelart study shows that the tradi-

tional environment prevents women from regarding their pro-

fessions as serious vocations. Despite assertions, espe-

cially among younger couples, of a new style of marriage

based on companionship and opportunity for the wife to

develop as an autonomous being, the authors conclude that

"only rarely have the corresponding values been interior-

ized."30 Because traditional images of women actually

still prevail, there is a lack of congruence between what

the more modern sector declares ideal and its actual con-

duct. Thus

in principle the man admits that the woman may
work, but not that his own wife exercise a pro-
fession. The woman, for her part, will agree on
the necessity of a professional integration for
the feminine sex, but nevertheless the only
aspiration she will have for her own daughter
will be matrimony.31
This traditional attitude also inclines women (and

men) often to "Justify" any modern activity outside the

home in terms of woman's traditional roles of wife and

mother. The Mattelarts conclude from their study that

university professions--for example, architecture
or medicine--are judged ideal by the woman for
integrating oneself into the new society, but the
reason for choosing such careers is based on a
traditional image. She should choose architecture
because she knows what the needs of the home are;
medicine because she believes that, through her
feminine nature, the woman doctor is more under-
standing, more human, more easily detects anoth-
er's suffering, is more apt to reach self-
renunciation. All this adds up to an extrapolation
of woman's image in its dimensions of housewife and
mother, both linked to the feminine myth: sweet-
ness, patience, abnegation.32

The same attitude prevails in relation to women

occupying political office. Thus Eva Peron, perhaps the

greatest female politician Latin America ever has produced,

explained her public role in terms of woman's eternal femi-

nine tasks:

In this great house of the Motherland, I am Just
like any other woman in any other of the innumer-
able houses of my people. Just like all of them
I rise early thinking about my husband and about
my children . and I go about all day thinking
about them and a good part of the night.. .
When I go to bed, tired out, then instead of
dreams, marvelous projects occur to me and I try
to sleep before I burst. It's that I so truly
feel myself the mother of my people.33 (Translation mine.)

The cult of machismo or virility and the subordinate

image of woman may account for the fact that few women view

politics as a suitable career. Evelyn P. Stevens, in her

study of Mexican machismo, makes a direct link between

machismo and male predominance in the political sphere:

In Mexico, as in other parts of Latin America
politics is considered to be "the business of men--
a sphere of activity peculiarly appropriate to males.
This is not to say that women do not participate in
political activity; a small number of them do, but

they are the exception rather than the rule. .
In the main, politics remains a "man's world" and
male values are regarded as appropriate. Role
expectations in politics, as in other spheres of
action, require that a man must get his own way;
he may brook no opposition nor share his power
with anyone else. To do so would be to show
traits of femininity, of submissiveness and of

The Latin American male now is not so overtly

opposed as formerly when he encounters women in public

office. However, formal acquiescence to female collabora-

tion in policy making does not necessarily mean that the

individual Latin man would approve his own wife's partici-

pation. Maria Correa Morande, who was in the Chilean cong-

ress in 1957-61, remarks:

I think the majority of men look with a
great deal of sympathy on the participation of
women in politics--always supposing that their
own wives are not involved. This evidently
places women in a dilemma in which they must
choose between giving full satisfaction to their
desire to participate with their talent, their
patriotic fervor and their anxiety to find solu-
tions beneficial not only to this generation but
to the next, and the generous renunciation of all
this so that they will not compromise the harmony
of their home,35

Significantly, three interviewees who said they per-

sonally had not felt male opposition thought it would come

if many women began to appear in the higher echelons of

government. One of them said:

Often women in high positions like
or or myself will be the only
women in a big meeting of male bureaucrats. I find
that women in public service have quite the oppo-
site effect than exciting opposition: we are a
novelty, a kind of note of relief or diversion.
The men like to see us there, they like to kid us.

However, the welcome might change if we began
to appear in force. Perhaps later the opposition
will come.3"

There is general agreement among my interviewees

that public activity on the part of women is subtly censured,

even though formally women are free to engage in it. As one

woman who holds one of the highest posts in Peruvian bureau-

cracy puts it:

The woman in public office or in a profession
must be a "fighter." There still is very strong
discrimination against the professional woman.
Today it is perhaps more subtle than before, but
it is very strong.

Women begin to feel the animosity against them
from their university days. Men have all sorts of
techniques for showing their disapproval. They
refuse to take the woman student seriously; when
she speaks up in the class, they will says "Ha!
what she said! Just listen! How she makes me
laugh, etc."

In the work situation, there also constantly
are little things, unimportant things, which the
men use to show their sentiments. As an example--
the other day, the directors concerned in a cer-
tain study were called together. My area tradi-
tionally is considered to be Just a cut above the
others, and moreover, I was seated next to the
Minister. But he called the others (all men) to
speak first. A little thing, certainly, but indic-

Another official mentioned that whenever a woman

bureaucrat submits a written report "it is scrutinized and

commented upon" much more than would be a similar report by

a man. This situation appears to be general in the Americas.

In a United Nations Seminar on the participation of women in

public life, the representatives concluded in their official


There is a tendency, supported by age-old tradition
to look upon man as a superior being, and the
emancipation of women is still too recent to break
it down. A woman about to exercise leadership or
to take up a post in government is surrounded by a
general air of expectancy. As there is nothing
unusual in a man being in government, all that is
expected of him is the normal performance of his
duties. As it is uncommon for a woman to be in
government, her work is expected to be outstanding.38

On the home side, male censure comes if the profes-

sional does not also manage well her housewife's role. A

high woman official of the Frei government, who also pre-

sides over a large home and family, declared the men still

"resist tenaciously any attempt to 'equalize' the responsi-

bilities of the home and to share them, unless the wife is

absolutely dying," She continued:

domen have won the right to go out and work
without having established any rights to more of
a "partnership" in the home. The working wife's
husband, his friends, her friends--and often she,
herself--still expect her to be a model homemaker.
And she will get no help from her husband on this.
He leaves it all to her, and on top of this, he is
apt to be very demanding.

Perhaps the basis for all this goes back to
the Moorish influence which has affected the Span-
ish male so profoundly. What is curious here is
the fact that Chilean men do not, by and large,
any longer dispute the right of women to work if
they wish. They even welcome it in cases where the
wife earns enough so her employment is not anti-
economic (in the sense that it costs more for her
to work in terms of clothes, hairdos and help in
the home than she earns). But they do not see that
bringing in an extra salary gives her any special
rights to relief or help with the home duties.
This is preeminently women's work, and the changing
structures which have permitted women to go out to
the university and to enter the labor force have

not yet changed sufficiently to challenge the tra-
ditional division of "men's work" and "women's

The same situation of incongruence between legal

freedoms and the demands of homemaking was underscored in

the UN Seminar mentioned above:

With one exception [Haiti], the laws of the
various countries represented in the Seminar afford
women unrestricted opportunities in politics, gov-
ernment and other spheres. In this regard, however,
the legal and the social positions, in other words
the positions in fact and in law, clearly bear lit-
tle resemblance to one another.

Psycho-social factors, closely linked to one
another, are responsible for the reserve which
women show and the situation is aggravated by pre-
judice and the inescapable forms of custom and ways
of life. Home-making, the burden of which falls
almost entirely upon women, and the fact that men
undertake few or no household duties also militate
against women's participation in activities outside
the home.4u

The Boundaries of Womanly Influence

The images of woman's proper role in Latin American

society place severe limitations on her authority and free-

dom, even within the family, as the preceding discussion has

documented. Yet the picture drawn above would be one-sided

if the exploration of woman's image terminated here.

The situation of the Latin American woman presents

many contradictions, and allusion already has been made to

some of them. For example, as pointed out in the discussion

above, the position of legal wife (unlike that of married

women in societies where wives are bought as chattel) is an

honorable estate in the middle and upper classes of Latin

America, and the home is considered sacred. In the Catholic

view, the duties of wife and mother are related to the work

of Mary at Nazareth. The future wife is admonished by her

teachers and pious female relatives to pattern herself after

the silent, modest Virgin who for thirty years made a home

for her Son and only once ever questioned his strange mis-

sion or her own role in it.

It is true that in Catholic theology, Mary becomes

Queen of Heaven after her work on earth is completed. Yet

it would be a mistake to suppose that this position gives

her any authority in her own right. Her major work is

defined not as that of ruler, but as intercessorr." As Vir-

gin, untouched by man, she is considered fit to intercede

for sinful mankind and turn away the wrath of a just God.

As Mother, she is thought to have special influence over her

Son, who also is God in the Catholic scheme. Always empha-

sized as virtues are her passivity and her unquestioning

surrender to "God's plan" as announced by the angel in the

biblical account (in Catholic theology the conception of

Christ takes place at this moment of blind acquiescence to

the unknown future).

The Latin tradition of caballeria (to be discussed

more in detail in the next chapter) is bound intimately to

the cult of the Virgin. The pure love and respectful

treatment the knight gave his lady were directly related to


the love and respect he also was supposed to have for Mary.

Indeed, when the knight did not have a special lady, he

could dedicate himself and his deeds to the Virgin herself.

Men and women alike, especially in the last gener-

ation, were taught to look upon their wives and mothers

almost literally as "other Marys." Such a view often com-

plicated the sexual relationship between husband and wife

in the manner already discussed. But it must be emphasized

that there is another side; men, especially of the higher

classes and of the older generation, often accord "decent"

women a deep and genuine respect. Indeed, the caballero

tradition in the view of some observers explains why Latin

American women have never been feminists. A strong femi-

nist reaction, they say, is provoked only by extreme mascu-

line depreciation of women's position, as existed in some

Arab countries. This point will be discussed more fully in

the chapter on feminism.

Despite the limitations on woman's role outside the

home, then, it will be evident from the foregoing discussion

that something more remains to be said on the very complex

subject of the image of the Latin American woman and her

role. Paradoxically, Peruvian and Chilean women sometimes

wield formidable power within certain restricted spheres,

principally behind the high walls and closed doors which

guard the sacred and private family circle.

Such a contention is impossible to document, however,


because woman's ascendancy where it exists is so subtle and

hidden, and because formally and publicly the superiority of

the male almost always is maintained. The Mattelart study

suffers somewhat precisely because a questionnaire cannot

get at this reality, and women come out looking uniformly

oppressed. As anyone who truly knows the reality will

attest, however, women in Latin America are not completely

powerless. They know how to "defend themselves," as they

put it, within certain well-defined limits. What is impor-

tant to note are these boundaries.

Many times I have watched in admiration as an exper-

ienced Latin woman got around her menfolk. Rarely does she

oppose a husband or a grown son openly. She may even appear

to go along on an issue that she has not the least intention

of agreeing to in the end. With patience and silence, with

stubbornness and charm, she subtly leads the man to another

opinion while letting him believe it was he alone who recon-

sidered the matter and changed his mind. Latin American

women know very well how to win these kinds of battles.

They wait and keep silent, and then they let the generals

claim all the medals. As Chester Hunt remarks about the

Filipinas, they conspire to maintain the formal superiority

of men while in actual fact women in the Philippines now

often enjoy real authority and power, even in the public

A Latin man generally will not carry a baby or push

a baby carriage in public; he will not allow a woman to

drive if he is in the car--"Por que soy yo hombre?" (Why

am I a man?) He will not lower himself to remove a plate

from the table or to serve the coffee if the empleada is

having her night out. The women give in gracefully on these

issues because they know that the real terrain of battle is

elsewhere and they do not like to waste ammunition. For

example, as Amanda Labarca remarks, it is often the woman

who selects the colegio for both daughters and sons.42

As a woman grows older, her prestige increases.

Especially in the middle and upper classes, there are cases

of veritable matriarchs who preside over the extended family

with a certain degree of despotism. The respect and atten-

tiveness accorded to older women by husbands and sons alike

would astonish many a North American grandmother. Married

sons and daughters long removed from the maternal roof

would not dream of making a major decision in their own

lives without consulting la mama. Nor will a single major

holiday, or the mother's birthday (or in Chile, saint's day)

pass without all the sons and daughters coming, with their

children, to greet the old mother.

Certainly much of this "consulting" has a ritual-

istic quality, and many old matriarchs possess no power to

sanction courses of action already decided upon. But there

is no doubt that some exercise real authority. Determined

opposition from a mother will sometimes cause a decision to


be modified or a project to be dropped altogether--or per-

haps postponed until the old mother dies.

In another context, no one who reads of the salons, or

tertulias, literary and political alike, in which women of

earlier times played a prominent part, can doubt that women

have had a certain power and influence not confined to home

and family affairs.

But what must be noticed is that such activities

(and those of women even today) most often are private and

circumspect, carried on in the intimacy of the home. As

Tamayo Vargas notes, the tertulia provided woman an oppor-

tunity to take part in cultural and educational activity

while "maintaining appearances and not offending against

the norm"; she "complied with the custom of 'puertas

adentro,'" he says, a phrase meaning literally having her

"doors inside." 3 A woman belongs in the house and the
only doors she opens are those within her own home; she

does not touch the puertas afuera, that is, the outside

doors that lead to the street. There is an old Spanish say-

ing which puts the matter succinctly: "La mujer en la casa,

el hombre en la calle"--woman in the house, man on the

street. In the days gone by, this was literal. Today, of

course, the puertas are symbolic, but the tradition of pub-

lic affairs as man's exclusive domain remains strong.

Because these matters are so subtle and so difficult

to measure scientifically, it becomes difficult indeed for


a foreign observer to judge the extent of female influence.

Outsiders do not always catch the nuances. They do not

realize when deference accorded a woman is mere form. In

many cases they do not understand the significance of the

puertas, the boundaries. They imagine that women who so

patently are in charge of certain areas of life must be

highly emancipated in all. For example, two highly intel-

ligent North American social scientists (both of whom, how-

ever, know Latin America only superficially) declared that

my study of women made no sense because in Chile, in any

case, women were doctors, lawyers, congresswomen, journal-

ists and "completely emancipated." But 90 percent of my 167

interviewees among women leaders do not agree with them

(see Chapter 9),

Women's magazines provide, on a popular level, the

mirror in which the current image of woman is reflected.
In the lead article of an issue devoted to woman's evolu-

tion, the Chilean monthly Paula paints this picture of

today's Chilean woman:

The Chilean woman has entered upon the scene.
From the black veil to the mini-skirt. From the
rural tertulia to the radio forum. From charming
ignorance to the university degree. .. .But is
it so? Have we really arrived?

Some of us, and only in the measure that men
have permitted. Because we, the chilenas, don't
exist as independent beings. We arena t anything
at all without a man beside us, we are exactly in
the place where they have put us. We evolve in
the measure that the mentality of our men evolves.
. And just like Alice in Wonderland, we have

run a great deal . and remained in the same
place. Because our relationship with them hasn't
changed. We haven't outdistanced them. And for
that we're happy. . .

The truth is, it's very difficult to generalize
about us. We don't have anything in superlative
measure. We're simply average. Just as is Chile.
And just like Chile, perhaps our only common denom-
inator is that we are stable. We very visibly lack
the capacity for rebellion. . W]e live, we
Chileans, in the place that belongs to us as women
without altering the man-woman equilibrium wlch is
what characterizes and sustains our society.

Having sketched the prevailing images of woman in

Latin American society, the next question to be investigated

is their source. This is the subject of Chapter 3.


1Manuela Saenz and Michaela Villegas, one the
amante of Simon Bolivar, the other of the Virrey Amat. For
a sampling of the exceptional women who did figure histor-
ically, see Chapter 4.
2Armand and Michele Mattelart, La mujer chilena en
una nueva sociedad (Santiago: Editorial del Pacifico,
1968), p. 17.
3Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own (New York:
Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1929), P. 76.
Ibid., P. 77.
5Erik Erikson, Insight and Responsibility (New
York: W. W. Norton, 1964), p. 44.
6Mary R. Beard, Woman as a Force in History (New
York: The Macmillan Co., 1946). In fairness, one must
recognize that Mrs. Beard's volume is not precisely his-
tory, but a design for writing one. Hence the thinness in
her particular case.
7Martin Gruberg, Women in American Politics (Osh-
kosh; Academia Press, 1968), p. 71.
8jacob Burckhardt, History of Greek Culture, trans.
by Palmer Hilty (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1963), p. 286.
9L. J. Ludovici, The Final Inequality: A Critical
Assessment of Woman's Sexual Role in Society (New Yorkt
W. W. Norton, 1965), p. 111. Ludovici says (no doubt with
Tacitus in mind) that "many to whom the words Rome and Latin
bear an inimical sound have tried to idealize the lives of
the Germanic tribes who took possession of these islands.
The simple truth is that these tribes, particularly in their
attitude towards women, had the same sort of customs as most
primitive peoples."
lIbid., p. 117.

11Robert Briffault The Mothers: The Matriarchal
Theory of Social Origins (New York, 1927). '.

12Elisabeth Mann Borgese, Ascent of Woman (London:
Macgibbon & Kee, 1963), p. 148,
13Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, trans. by H. M,
Parshley (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1953). It is only
fair to point out that there is some impressive evidence on
the other side of the question. Erikson, David McClelland,
Lewis M. Terman and C. C. Miles, L. L. Thurstone, H. A. Wit-
kin and others have carried out experiments which control
for cultural conditioning and seem to show distinct female
and male reactions to stimuli, especially in space percep-
tion. Most modern psychologists now deny, however, that
these differences imply any significant differences between
men and women in cognitive capacity. For example, Julia A.
Sherman in a critique of this literature shows that key
measures of analytical reasoning are related to space per-
ception and therefore are sex-biased. Conclusions about
women's inferiority in analytical reasoning based on such
data are, she says, unwarranted. ("Problems of Sex Differ-
ences in Space Perception and Aspects of Intellectual Func-
tioning," Psychological Review, LXXIV, No. 4 [July, 1967],
pp. 290-98.)
For excellent summaries of the literature on psycho-
logical characteristics of woman, even including a section
on differences in sense of humor between the sexes, see F.
J. J. Buytendijk, Womant a Contemporary View, trans. by
Denis J. Barrett (New York: Association Press, 1968), Part
III, Chapter 3; Viola Klein, The Feminine Characters His-
tory of an Ideology (Londont Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner
& Co., 1946) and Eleanor Maccoby, The Development of Sex
Differences (Palo Alto, Calif: Stanford University Press,
14Robert K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Struc-
ture, rev. ed. (Glencoe, Ill.s T he Free Press, 1957J, p.

15Paul Chombart de Lauwe, "Introduction" to "Images
of Women in Society," International Social Science Journal
(UNESCO), XIV, No. 1 (1962), p. 7.
16Camilo Torres, "Message to the Women," in Camilo
Torress His Life and His Message, ed. by John Alvarez Garcia
and Christian Restrepo Calle and trans. by Virginia M.
O'Grady (Springfield, Ill.: Templegate Publishers, 1968),
p. 94.
17Dra. Carrerra expressly stipulated that she would
say nothing in her interview that could not be attributed
to her. Alert and very sure of her own ideas, Dra. Carrerra

is far from being a carbon copy of her husband. She did
not once quote him in outlining for me her ideas about the
"anti-imperialist revolution. Charming and feminine,
dressed simply but attractively, this leading representative
of the left is much more typical of the revolutionary style
of Latin American women than the stereotype we sometimes
build from seeing photos of Cuban militia women in bulky
uniforms, their hair stuffed under a visored cap. Women in
the American left apparently also find themselves relegated
to what they call "shit-work"--cooking, mimeographing,
cleaning up, and making love--but not participating in the
work of the steering committees. As Stokely Carmichael so
elegantly put it, "The only position for women in SNCC is
prone." (Cited in Linda Seese, "You've Come a Long Way,
Baby--Women in the Movement Motive, XXIX, Nos. 6-7
1March-April, 1969], p. 68.)
18Octavio Pas, The Labyrinth of Solitude, trans.
by Lysander Kemp (New York: Grove Press, 1961), p. 36. The
opposite of male dominance, female passivity or inertia is
sometimes called hembrismo or mimetismo. Emilio Willems
describes the female role as stiiming from a "virginity
complex." ("The Structure of the Brazilian Family," Social
Forces, XXXI, No. 4 [May, 19531, P. 341.)
19paz, p. 36.
20Evelyn P. Stevens, who has reviewed the literature,
reports that there is not yet a full-scale treatment of
machismo by social scientists. ("Mexican Machismo: Poli-
tics and Value Orientations," Western Political Quarterly,
XVIII, No. 3 [September, 19651, pp. 848-57.) Fairly exten-
sive treatment is given by Paz and by Samuel Ramos, Profile
of Man and Culture in Mexico, trans. by Peter G. Earle
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1962), pp. 54-72. Other
investigators who mention machismo include Oscar Lewis, PFve
Families (New York: Basic Books, 1959); J. Mayone Stycos,
Family and Fertility in Puerto Rico: A Study of the Lower
income Group (New York: Columbia University Press, 1955),
pp. 19, 34-35, 42-44 and 105; and Willems. The latter calls
the set of values around which the Brazilian male builds his
role a "virility complex." After marriage, the male not
only is allowed but often expected to have sexual relations
with other women, and in some strata of Latin American
societies, the number of children fathered is the index to
virility. For an interesting discussion of how these values
live on among Mexican Americans, see William Madaen, Mexi-
can-Americans of South Texas in the "Case Studies in Cul-
tural Anthropology" series (New York: Holt, Rinehart and
Winston, 1964), pp. 15-23.

210r as the supermadre, exercising a career that
extends her role in home and family to the world. Before
these career possibilities were opened, women were in the
position of Sor Juana de la Cruz who entered the convent in
the seventeenth century precisely because it was decente--
the only course open to her under the circumstances. She
"I became a religious because, even though I
knew this state had many things that went against
my grain, on the whole and considering the total
disinclination I had for marriage, it was the
least unsuitable and the most decent that I could
have chosen for the security--that I desired--for
my salvation; . ." (Emphasis added.)

In the convent, even though she had to endure the religious
exercises which, she confesses, were "repugnant," still she
could attain what she most desired: "to live alone, not to
have an obligatory occupation that would take away the lib-
erty of my study, nor the noise of community that would
impede the quietness of my books." (Quoted in Mirta
Aguirre, Influencia de la mujer en Iberoamerica [Habana:
Servicio para la Defensa Civil, 1948], pp. 12-13.)
22Paz, p. 36.

23Typical of the Latin attitude towards woman: a
little book about women written just before the turn of the
century. All those, the author says, who think that woman
is bad or good according to whether man guides her along a
good or bad road are "the real thinkers, for they have
philosophy, history, reason and experience on their side.
Among every people and at all times, woman has been nothing
more than what the man wished her to be:

"Los que screen que la mujer es buena o mala,
segun que el hombre la gula por bueno o mal camino,
esog son los verdadores pensadores. De su parte
estan la filosofia y la historic, la razdn y la
experiencia. . .

"En todos los pueblos, y en todos los tiempos,
la mujer no ha sido mas que lo que e0 hombre ha
querido que sea." (E. Rodriguez-Solis, La muJer
espanola y americana [Madrid, 18983, p. 5*.)
24Another interviewee, a bureaucrat and one of the
few upper class Peruvians in government, sketches a similar
situation in Peru:

"The family is supremely important. A single
woman will live with her family. This is the norm,
and it is hard to go against it. If here and there
a woman tries it, there will be all kinds of cruel
jokes and allusions from the men--half in fun, per-
haps, but there is something under it that is more
serious. 'Ah,' they will say, 'You are going to
live on your own! What are you planning?' So a
woman to protect herself from talk and speculation
will not go against the norm. To take an apartment
with other girls and share expenses is unheard of.
Girls from the provinces Twho come to the city will
stay in a convent, a pension or with relatives.
This is partly economic--things never are so simple
as to be the result of one cause--but it is not
only economic." (Interviewee I-1, Peru.)
25Mattelarts, pp. $9-60.
26Ibid., p. 60.

27Ibid., p. 72.
28Ibid., pp. 73-75.

29Amanda Labarca, Woman and Education in Chile
(Paris: UNESCO, 1952), P. 12.
30Mattelarts, p. 22.
31Ibid., p. 19.

32Ibid., p. 20.
33Eva Peron, La Razon de mi vida (Buenos Airest
Edicones Peuser, 1951), PP. 313-14.
34Stevens, p. 849.
35"La mujer en political Revista del Domingo de
El Mercurio, March 26, 1967, p. 9.
36Interviewee 11-60, Chile.
37Interviewee 1-67, Peru.

38United Nations, Seminar on Participation of Women
in Public Life (1959), Bogota, Colombia, 18 to 29 May 1959
(New ork: United Nations, 1959 [Doc. ST/TAO/HR/5]), p. 13.
Hereafter cited as UN, Bogota Seminar on Women.

39Interviewee 11-80, Chile.
4UN, Bogota Seminar on domen, p. 12. All the 21
American Republics were represented except Haiti, plus the
4est Indies, Surinam, Canada, Martinique and Guadeloupe.
41Chester L. Hunt, "Female Occupational Roles and
Urban Sex Ratios in the United States, Japan and the
Philippines," Social Forces, XLIII, No. 3 (March, 1965),
p. 417.
2Labarca, p. 12.
43Augusto Tamayo Vargas, Literatura peruana (Lima:
Universidad Mayor de San Marcos, 1965), II, p. 523.
44Revista Paula (Santiago), December, 1967, p. 43.



Sources of the prevailing images of woman in Latin

America are well worth investigating in some detail not only

for their intrinsic interest but because only by understand-

ing where the ideas about women originate will we be able

to estimate their power to influence present and future


Images and their sources vary, of course, from

region to region and among classes. Because this study

focuses on the educated, middle class woman and her role in

government, those influences operating among the educated

classes will be emphasized. The similarity in culture, out-

look and taste of the Latin American educated classes--who

are said to differ more markedly from the pueblo of their

own countries than among themselves--often has been noted.

Sources and examples from Peru and Chile will be emphasized

whenever they are available.1

The principal influence forming the image of woman

may have been the reactionary Roman Catholic Christianity

found in Latin American countries which baptized and con-

firmed Greek ideas of male supremacy. This groundwork laid,


later philosophical movements not much more sympathetic to

woman re-enforced the image, while all through Latin Ameri-

can history, literature contributed powerfully to the femi-

nine myth of passivity and lack of ability for a role in

social and political life.

The earliest influence delineating woman's role in

Latin America may well have been Scholastic philosophy.

Spain had imposed Scholasticism throughout her colonies as

the one official philosophy; although challenged, it remained

powerful for generations after the influence of the School-

men in Europe had waned before the assaults of the Reforma-

tion and Renaissance. At the dawn of independence through-

out Latin America there were, of course, movements inspired

by the revolutionary ideas of eighteenth-century rationalism

and the French revolution. But many historians doubt the

deep or lasting impact of these ideas outside the limited

circles of those who led the political emancipation move-

ments. Moreover, as Simon Collier has pointed out, it now

is a "gigantic commonplace" to say that the Latin American

revolutions for independence were mainly political in


RA] radical shift in society did not occur, was
never intended, and would have been wholly unwel-
come to the creoles. . An age conditioned to
think in sociological categories may find this
hard to accept. . But it clearly was not a
social revolution in the sense that the French
and Russian revolutions were.

As Frederick Pike has noted, for many years Peruvian

historians themselves have "disagreed heatedly" over the

extent to which liberal intellectuals in Peru were influ-

enced by Enlightenment ideology and over what these intel-

lectuals actually contributed to the independence movement.3

Collier and others have shown how the conservative counter-

revolution of 1829 in Chile, the work of Diego Portales,

resulted in a social order which retained a striking
similarity to that of the colonial epoch, a social
order in which "public safety and the integrity of
property" became virtually interchangeable terms.
hr. ..n other words, the revolution had been cut

So successful was the government imposed by Portales under

the presidencies of Ovalle, Errasuriz and Prieto, he says,

that some features of its mould still are with Chile today.5
One powerful reason for the limited effects of 1789

and 1848 on the culture and society of Latin America is the

fact that most universities began as theological seminaries.
One estimate puts the number of degrees granted throughout

Latin America in the first three centuries after settlement

at 150,000, "the vast majority in theology."6 Whether

founded by the crown or the church, all the universities

remained powerfully under the influence of the proponents

of the Thomist theological and philosophical system. As

Diffie points out, the Scholastics avoided the application

of Newtonism to religion, economics and society, and the

philosophers who did so--Voltaire, Locke, Diderot, Montes-

quieu and Rousseau--were anathematized.7


The influence of the Schoolmen remained strong until

very recent times. A contemporary student of education in

Latin America remarks

. there have not developed in Latin America any
true deviations from the theistic Thomism, Scholas-
ticism, humanism, and idealism (Platonic-
Aristotelian) which were and are in the mainstream
of Spanish and southern European thought. Certainly
it is clear that deism, realism (materialism),
empiricism, and progress have not had marked influ-
ence on the Latin American intellectual and philo-
sophical scene.

In this scheme, values which govern human behavior do not

change, are not relative because they are derived from an

a priori higher moral law:

Observers are aware that a consistent philo-
sophical framework lies beneath a Latin American
superstructure marked by astounding similarities
in the school population, in the curriculum, in
the administration and organizational practices,
and in methodology, . It is this same philos-
ophy which has undergirded political and social
development over the past four centuries and helps
to explain the fatalism, personalism and nonsecu-
larism of the Latin American society.

What is to the point here is the fact that the

Schoolmen took a very dim view indeed of women. Their

views were not only set forth in their philosophic purity

in the universities, however, but in turn widely dissemi-

nated at the popular level. For the middle class woman who

could read, there were popular devotional treatises on the

duties of wife and mother such as Luis Vives' Instruction

of a Christian Woman; he granted women the same nature as

man, yet noted that "she lacks his natural capacity for

command and is therefore rightfully subject to him in both

private and public affairs.'9 For the uneducated, there

were sermons and catechism lessons, and for all the demon-

stration effect of woman's second class status in both

church and school., :t'

What predominates in the Scholastic pronouncements

about women is the certainty of her inferiority to the male.

Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure, the most famous Schoolmen

of the thirteenth century, were alike in basing their views

on the mistaken biology of Aristotle, who viewed the woman

as a deformed or "stunted male."11 In the Aristotelian

view, if everything went well in generation, the resulting

child would be male; if something went wrong, then a

daughter unfortunately would be the result. Neither Aris-

totle nor the Schoolmen knew anything of the ovum, and they

believed the male seed was the active life principle. The

woman indeed was needed in generation, but her contribution

was passive, nutritive, vegetative. She provided only the

material component, the receptacle for life, Thomas (citing

Aristotle) minces no words in describing the inferior nature

of woman

As regards the individual nature, woman is
defective and misbegotten, for the active force
in the male seed tends to the production of a per-
fect likeness in the masculine sex; while the pro-
duction of woman comes from the defect in the
active force or from some material indisposition,
or even from some external influence; such as that
of a south wind, which is moist, as the Philosopher

The Schoolmen thus believed that a daughter was an


inferior being, a living demonstration of her father's lack

of vital capacity, and it is striking how this image of

woman has lived on to this day in Latin American culture.

In a sketch on woman's role in the lower classes, Julia

Toro Godoy draws a graphic picture of the arrival of a

daughter in the homes of the Chilean poor:

If Ethe new arrival] is of the female sex, rela-
tives and comadres comment between Joking and com-
miseration: "It would have to be [literally inept,
second rate] a misbegotten one!"

The mother herself doesn't welcome the recently
arrived with joyful phrases. She exclaims with
resignation "Yes, it had to be a little useless
one. And the comadre says: "Resign yourself,
Senora. One has to take what God sends." And a
neighbor adds "Oh, what a headache."13

This view of an exclusively male role in generation

may explain, in part, the psychology of the macho. If

woman is only the receptacle for the male's life-giving

force, then women have nothing to "prove" in the sexual

sphere and thus no ego involvement in producing a large

family. The man, on the contrary, affirms his virility in

an unmistakable way with each child he generates. As

others have suggested, we may find here the source of the

now well-documented phenomenon in Latin America of male

opposition to birth control, especially among the lower

On his part, Bonaventure agrees with Thomas that the

formation of Eve from Adam's rib is in perfect keeping with

the nature of man who "excels woman in dignity of origin, in

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