Defining a Democracy: Reforming the Laws on Women’s Rights in Chile, 1990–2002


Haas, Liesl, and Merike H. Blofield. 2005. “Defining a Democracy: Reforming the Laws on Women’s Rights in Chile, 1990–2002.” Latin American Politics and Society 47 (3): 35–68.

Authors: Liesl Haas, Merike H. Blofield


This article evaluates 38 bills seeking to expand women's rights in Chile and finds that the successful ones often originated with the Executive National Women's Ministry (SERNAM), did not threaten existing definitions of gender roles, and did not require economic redistribution. These factors (plus the considerable influence of the Catholic Church) correlate in important ways, and tend to constrain political actors in ways not apparent from an examination of institutional roles or ideological identity alone. In particular, the Chilean left's strategic response to this complex web of interactions has enabled it to gain greater legislative influence on these issues over time.

Topics: Gender, Governance, Political Participation, Religion, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Chile

Year: 2005

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