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Gendered Paradoxes

Women's Movements, State Restructuring, and Global Development in Ecuador

Amy Lind

Publication Year: 2007

Since the early 1980s Ecuador has experienced a series of events unparalleled in its history. Its “free market” strategies exacerbated the debt crisis, and in response new forms of social movement organizing arose among the country’s poor, including women’s groups. Gendered Paradoxes focuses on women’s participation in the political and economic restructuring process of the past twenty-five years, showing how in their daily struggle for survival Ecuadorian women have both reinforced and embraced the neoliberal model yet also challenged its exclusionary nature. Drawing on her extensive ethnographic fieldwork and employing an approach combining political economy and cultural politics, Amy Lind charts the growth of several strands of women’s activism and identifies how they have helped redefine, often in contradictory ways, the real and imagined boundaries of neoliberal development discourse and practice. In her analysis of this ambivalent and “unfinished” cultural project of modernity in the Andes, she examines state policies and their effects on women of various social sectors; women’s community development initiatives and responses to the debt crisis; and the roles played by feminist “issue networks” in reshaping national and international policy agendas in Ecuador and in developing a transnationally influenced, locally based feminist movement.

Published by: Penn State University Press


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pp. vii

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

Lynn Meisch has said, in rather ironic terms, that Ecuador had ‘‘the strongest indigenous movement and weakest economy in Latin America’’ at the turn of the century (Meisch 2000, 14; also quoted in Weismantel 2003, 330). Indeed, this is how most people hear about politics in Ecuador, through articles on either indigenous protests ...

List of Acronyms

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pp. xiii-xvi

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pp. 1-22

In this book I examine one local setting in which women have politically mobilized to ‘‘encounter development’’ in Latin America: that of Quito, Ecuador. As I show, the political identities and strategies of women’s community-based and nongovernmental organizations in Quito are neither entirely radical nor traditional, nor necessarily original. ...

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1 Myths of Progress: Citizenship, Modernization, and Women’s Rights Struggles in Ecuador

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pp. 23-52

The historical relationship between women and the state in Ecuador is complex, multifaceted, and paradoxical. From the start, women’s rights struggles necessarily have taken place in multiple social spaces and have cut across a range of political, economic, and geographic sectors. ...

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2 Ecuadorian Neoliberalisms and Gender Politics in Context

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pp. 53-68

In 2000–2001, Ecuador’s foreign debt of U.S.$16 billion was the highest per capita debt in Latin America (see Table 1; World Bank 2001; Latin American Bureau 2001). At the time, Ecuadorians faced higher levels of unemployment and income inequality than they did prior to the introduction of SAPS. ...

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3 Neoliberal Encounters: State Restructuring and the Institutionalization of Women’s Struggles for Survival

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pp. 69-92

In May 1992, several neighborhood women’s organizations participated in a protest outside the Citibank office in Quito. Following a dispute regarding loan-repayment guidelines, Citibank–New York, the bank that headed the group of foreign lenders to the Ecuadorian government, had frozen U.S.$80 million of the Central Bank’s assets, ...

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4 Women’s Community Organizing in Quito: The Paradoxes of Survival and Struggle

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pp. 93-112

Since the inception of the restructuring process in the early 1980s, Ecuadorian civil society has been increasingly called upon to provide essential services for poor families. In many ways, it was poor families themselves—particularly women—who became the new civil society actors, a phenomena exemplified in the Borja ...

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5 Remaking the Nation: Feminist Politics, Populist Nationalism, and the 1998 Constitutional Reforms

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pp. 113-134

The 1997 political crisis reveals some of the gendered contradictions of neoliberal development, particularly as they play out in the context of nationalist politics. In August 1996, President Abdala

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6 Making Dollars, Making Feminist Sense of Neoliberalism: Negotiations, Paradoxes, Futures

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pp. 135-152

In this book I have aimed to address a set of gendered paradoxes concerning Ecuador’s trajectory of ‘‘development’’ and state restructuring preceding and during the neoliberal period of the 1980s and 1990s. These paradoxes are derived from several factors: ideologies of womanhood and imaginings of Ecuador as a nation; ...

Appendix: Chronology of Events

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pp. 153-154


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pp. 155-178


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pp. 179-182

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780271052861
E-ISBN-10: 0271052864
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271025452
Print-ISBN-10: 027102545X

Page Count: 200
Illustrations: 1 table
Publication Year: 2007