Global Resources

Unfinished Transitions: Women and the Gendered Development of Democracy in Venezuela, 1936-1996

Author: E. Friedman
Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Publication Date: Sep 2000
This analysis of Venezuelan women's organising traces a sixty year struggle to democratise political practice and represent women's interests. It addresses some of the prevailing issues of Latin American democratisation: why did women have difficulty participating in regimes they fought to install, and how did they seek inclusion? The book uses gender analysis to explain the impact of the 'political opportunity structure' - institutions, actors, ideas around democratisation and women's participation. It examines the makeup of women's groups at the time, and traces the issues for which they fought, including the right to vote. Women's movements thrived under the more authoritarian rulers of the 1936-1945 periods, but largely disappeared under the democratic government from 1945-1948. Political parties institutionalised gender bias, denying women voice in politics. From 1974-84 Venezuelan women attempted to promote their concerns in national policy. Comparisons are made between women's organizations and neighbourhood organisations in Venezuela to demonstrate how other groups have challenged the traditional political system.