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The Politics of Motherhood

Maternity and Women’s Rights in Twentieth-Century Chile

Jadwiga E. Pieper Mooney

Publication Year: 2009

With the 2006 election of Michelle Bachelet as the first female president and women claiming fifty percent of her cabinet seats, the political influence of Chilean women has taken a major step forward. Despite a seemingly liberal political climate, Chile has a murky history on women's rights, and progress has been slow, tenuous, and in many cases, non-existent. Chronicling an era of unprecedented modernization and political transformation, Jadwiga E. Pieper Mooney examines the negotiations over women's rights and the politics of gender in Chile throughout the twentieth century. Centering her study on motherhood, Pieper Mooney explores dramatic changes in health policy, population paradigms, and understandings of human rights, and reveals that motherhood is hardly a private matter defined only by individual women or couples. Instead, it is intimately tied to public policies and political competitions on nation-state and international levels.The increased legitimacy of women's demands for rights, both locally and globally, has led to some improvements in gender equity. Yet feminists in contemporary Chile continue to face strong opposition from neoconservatism in the Catholic Church and a mixture of public apathy and legal wrangling over reproductive rights and health.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Series: Pitt Latin American Series

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix

The research for this book was inspired by experiences on location during my first stay in Santiago in 1993, during almost two years in Chile between 1995 and 1997, and on about nine trips to Santiago between 1998 and 2007. Enrolled in a summer course on “shantytown health care” on my first trip, I was taught by a terrific group of physicians and health-care activists of the...

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pp. xi

In Chile, my friends Fanny Berlagoscky Mora and Lorena de los

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pp. 1

In 1872, Chilean writer Martina Barros Borgoño made it her personal task to translate into Spanish the acclaimed On the Subjection of Women, a work by Englishman, moral philosopher, and political theorist John Stuart Mill.¹ In a provocative prologue that gave her a name as a respected voice among Santiago’s intellectuals, Barros Borgoño introduced what she considered Mill’s most...

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1. Public Health, Managed Motherhood, and Patriarchy in a Modernizing Nation

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pp. 13

In the 1920s, when social worker Luisa Fierro Carrera expressed her thoughts on “woman in her role as creator” in society, Chile was in the midst of a profound transformation. New political movements, especially among middle-class reformers, contested the powers of the old oligarchy and promoted, as the historian Patrick Barr-Melej has termed it, a “mesocracy” marked...

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2. Local Agency, Changed Global Paradigms, and the Burden of Motherhood

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pp. 44

In 1964, a woman we know only as Cristina, from the municipality of Conchal

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3. Planning Motherhood under Christian Democracy

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pp. 71

In 1968, Chilean doctors received an educational film, Family Planning/ Planificaci

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4. Gendered Citizenship Rights on the Peaceful Road to Socialism

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pp. 102

When Laura, a woman in her early twenties, talked about her experiences under President Allende’s government (1970–1973), she painted a picture markedly different from the established portrait of women’s roles. She recalled her initial plunge into politics in the late 1960s, at which time she was involved in struggles for land that led to the foundation of Nueva La Havana...

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5. From Mothers’ Rights toWomen’s Rights in a Nation under Siege

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pp. 134

In January 1974, the French newspaper Le monde published a story on Santiago’s campamento New Havana. Its residents had been the best organized and most combative pobladores during Allende’s term as president (1970–1973). In the course of only three years, they had constrained illegal alcohol sales and prostitution while at the same time their own defense front had prevented...

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6. International Encounters and Women’s Empowerment under Dictatorship and Redemocratization

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pp. 163-192

In October 1974, Joan Jara, widow of singer-songwriter Victor Jara, who had been tortured and killed by the military, toured the United States with her young children and the folk band Inti-Illimani. All had been exiled from Chile. Now they used music to tell of the political violence that continued to shatter their home country. Inti-Illimani summed up its message for a New York...


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pp. 193-201


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pp. 203-248


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pp. 249-284


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pp. 285-301

E-ISBN-13: 9780822973614
E-ISBN-10: 082297360X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822960430
Print-ISBN-10: 0822960435

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 16 Illustrations
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Pitt Latin American Series