Gender, Sexuality, and Politics: Rethinking the Relationship Between Feminism and Sandinismo in Nicaragua


Heumann, Silke. 2014. “Gender, Sexuality, and Politics: Rethinking the Relationship Between Feminism and Sandinismo in Nicaragua.” Social Politics 21 (2): 290. doi:10.1093/sp/jxu004.

Author: Silke Heumann


This paper revisits the historical relationship between Sandinismo and Feminism in Nicaragua, to explain the increasing antagonism between them. Drawing on the personal accounts of women's rights, sexual rights, and reproductive rights activists who participated in the Sandinista Revolution and movement, I show that the current conflict -- far from being a radical break with the past -- can be traced to antagonisms that have long existed within the Sandinista movement. The Sandinista leadership actively mobilized an anti-feminist discourse that marginalized sexual and reproductive rights from the revolutionary struggle. By constructing feminism as antagonistic to the revolution and forcing a split in loyalties, this discourse produced complex processes of (self)disciplining and (self)silencing. The article seeks to highlight the complexity of these processes and the internal dilemmas they produced. It questions not only the primacy of the economic or material sphere over issues of gender and sexuality, but also the very division of these into different spheres of experience and politics.

Keywords: political leadership, gender, sexuality, feminism, reproductive health

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Health, Reproductive Health, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Nicaragua

Year: 2014

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