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1 T his book explores the experiences of Ecuadorian women as both objects and agents of state formation, examining state practices, women’s lives, and gender ideologies in the Ecuadorian highlands in the first half of the twentieth century. The subtitle Modernizing Women, Modernizing the State alludes on the one hand to state projects that attempted to modernize both women’s behavior and the opportunities available to them, and on the other to the fact that some of the women involved were or became modernizers themselves. They seized on new opportunities and pressed the limits of those state projects in ways that perhaps were not anticipated. Thus they became active participants in the modernization of the Ecuadorian state, and in doing so they put their own imprint on processes that were also occurring elsewhere in a similar time period. The analysis moves between two broad themes—state formation and patterns of women’s experience and agency—bringing together a discussion of four general areas in which women’s behavior was of interest to, and intervened by, state institutions. Child welfare and children’s value (discussed in chapter 2) and prostitution and venereal disease (in chapter 3) were both arenas where women and girls became objects of state projects. New institutions, permeated by gender ideologies, were developed in these areas that increased the state’s ability to act on gendered subjects and enlisted women’s own participation in a range of ways. When we turn to examining midwifery and nursing (in chapters 4 and 5), however, we can see more clearly how women themselves became active agents in state projects. • 1 GenderedExperiencesand StateFormationinHighlandEcuador 2 • GENDERED EXPERIENCES AND STATE FORMATION IN HIGHLAND ECUADOR Although child protection projects and control of venereal disease did turn Ecuadorian women into objects of state action, the operation of such programs also offered opportunities for women to exercise agency as they used state services to pursue their own goals. And while women who trained for new professional careers became state agents when they sought government employment, they were also the objects of state action via the provision of both new educational and employment opportunities and in the gendered ways they were objectified and their agency undermined (not always successfully) within state institutions. This book thus examines different permutations of how women were both objects and agents in the provision of social programs and state policy . What differs between chapters 2 and 3, and chapters 4 and 5, however, are some of the sources that allow a deeper reading of women’s agency in the latter chapters. In their explorations of the functioning of specific state institutions and state programs, all of the chapters offer insight into processes of state formation , including attention to fissures within the state and specific ways that state and society were entwined, rather than constituting separate spheres of activity. The period explored here is roughly the first half of the twentieth century, with significant changes initiated after the 1895 Liberal Revolution. The exact starting and end points in each chapter vary depending on the historical rhythms of the themes examined. For child protection policies, an early component of gendered social policy, we begin early in the liberal period and consider the decades up to passage of the 1938 Código de Menores, Ecuador’s first Child Code. The history of antivenereal programs and prostitution control policies began later, with early projects from around 1910 but the Venereal Prophylaxis Service was only established in Quito in 1921. The heyday of antivenereal programs wound down after the 1943 discovery that penicillin was an effective treatment for syphilis, although the shift to new models was not immediate. For midwifery, the first field of university study opened to women, stabilization of training began in the early 1890s, with a significant expansion of enrollments after the 1899 founding of the new Maternidad (lying-in hospital or maternity clinic) in Quito. For graduated midwives, state employment opportunities were expanded in 1935 with the establishment of a new maternalinfant health program within the Servicio de Sanidad (Public Health Service), so chapter 4 follows midwives up through the 1940s. Professional nursing came later, with the earliest classes begun in 1917, reorganization of nursing training in 1927, and a more profound transformation in models of nursing in 1942 with the founding of the National Nurses School as a collaborative effort of U.S. and Ecuadorian agencies. While chapter 5 begins with a consideration of early nursing projects, it focuses on the first...


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