Women as Political Actors: The Move from Maternalism to Citizenship Rights and Power


Rakowski, Cathy. 2003. “Women as Political Actors: The Move from Maternalism to Citizenship Rights and Power.” Latin American Research Review 38 (2): 180–94.

Author: Cathy Rakowski


The link between "politics and motherhood" continues to be an important focus of the books reviewed here. But each argues that women's political activity is not reducible to mothering. Women of different classes, ethnic groups, and places engage in political activity for reasons that span the gap between the altruistic and the selfish. Women are as likely to be ambitious and competitive as they are caring and socially responsible. The issues around which women mobilize are equally diverse and not reducible to family or to gender, an important focus of the books. As a group, the books present a multi-textured history of transformations in how and why women engage in political activities throughout Latin America. This also is a history of the changing nature of politics in public and private arenas. The volumes demonstrate clearly how women have played a critical role in the reformulation of "the political" in practice, in ideology, and--albeit belatedly--in academic political theory.

Topics: Citizenship, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Political Participation, Rights

Year: 2003

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