Feminist Policymaking in Chile
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Penn State University Press
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Table of Contents
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Preface and Acknowledgments
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Introduction: Feminist Policymaking and the Struggle for Women’s Equality
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On January 15, 2006, Socialist Michelle Bachelet was elected president of Chile.1 Bachelet’s election has enormous political and cultural implications for Chilean women and their ongoing struggle for full citizenship and equal rights. An avowed feminist, she signifies the progress that Chilean women have made since the transition to democracy in legitimizing issues of women’s rights and in gaining a greater political voice. She demonstrated her commitment to expanding the gains Chilean women have made to date by...
Chapter 1: The Rules of the Game: Explaining Feminist Policy Outcomes
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To explore the question of how feminists in Chile learned to strategize politically to promote women’s rights within the state, we must consider a wide range of political factors that affect their ability to influence state policy. While every case study presents a unique set of opportunities and obstacles for policy reform, comparative research has identified a number of conditions...
Chapter 2: Feminist Policy Reform in Chile
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Any attempt to evaluate the opportunities for progressive policymaking on women’s rights in Chile must situate the analysis within the context of the institutional constraints on policymaking endemic to the Chilean political system. This chapter outlines the specific institutional powers of the main policymaking actors and discusses the incentives and disincentives for cooperative policymaking that flow from the institutional imbalance of the Chilean...
Chapter 3: Success At a Price: Passing Domestic Violence Legislation
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The passage of the Intrafamily Violence (Violencia Intrafamiliar, or VIF) law in 1994 counts as one of Chile’s most significant legislative successes on women’s rights.1 As one of the earliest feminist proposals to follow the transition to democracy, the law has also come to symbolize the challenges to cooperation between Sernam and congressional feminists and the obstacles feminist organizations face in their efforts to participate in policy...
Chapter 4: The Limits of Framing: Legislating Abortion Rights
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Attempts to reform Chile’s abortion law, which criminalizes abortion even when it would save the life of a pregnant woman, have been, at first glance, unmitigated failures.1 In 1991 Socialist deputy Adriana Munoz introduced a bill to decriminalize therapeutic abortion, but the bill died in committee without debate. In 1994 an alliance of feminist organizations, the Open Forum on Health and Sexual and Reproductive Rights, developed a second...
Chapter 5: Winning The Game: The Legalization of Divorce
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The legalization of divorce in Chile in 2004 was arguably the greatest legislative victory for feminists since the transition to democracy.1 The passage of the divorce law represents the culmination of political learning by congressional feminists and signals a positive shift in representatives’ relationship with Sernam. This success invigorated the feminist movement and forced public debate on women’s rights, and it suggests that feminists can achieve fundamental policy reform even on controversial issues if they can successfully...
Conclusion: The Future of Feminist Policymaking
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The election of Michelle Bachelet to the Chilean presidency in 2006 spawned enormous interest in the impact of a feminist president on the expansion of women’s rights. Bachelet’s successes and failures in promoting women’s rights will have repercussions beyond Chile, as advocates of women’s equality...
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Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 6 tables
Publication Year: 2010