preview

Latin American Populism

Better Essays
Importance of Working Class Women and Latin American Populist Movements
Populism movements across Latin America in the twentieth century were unique to the populations which they represented. Although these many populist movements share characteristics, such as having charismatic leaders and placing importance on the political participation of traditionally underrepresented groups, the generalized definition of populism fails to recognize the individualized nature of populism as the needs, circumstances, and experiences of different populations created unique populists movements.1 Along the same lines, the depiction of populism through the experiences of a male working class only, erodes the importance of the female working class which played
…show more content…
Femininity among the Latin American culture at the time revolved around a set of assumptions regarding feminine style, appearance, and behavior, including sexual behavior, that placed the role of women as subservient to that of men.3 Firm gender roles in the societies placed female responsibility as the care taker of the household, responsible for the family budget, the health of their children, and the creation of wholesome home environments.4 Harsh criticisms of women who joined the working class resulted in working class women fighting to maintain their femininity, in the eye of the public and their own eyes as well, as it often was seen as synonymous with a woman’s self-worth and self-respect.3 These criticisms of working class woman were seen from the working class men, for example in Sao Paulo where male textile unionists complained to Vargas that women factory workers was shameful and revolting as it lead to increased male unemployment.5 Criticisms also arose from middle class women, who are often depicted by working class woman as mocking and insulting.6 With criticisms and obstacles presenting themselves from all directions, working class women had very little alternative than to cling…show more content…
Becoming part of the work force provided women with some financial independence, and allowed for women workers to begin supporting each other and to begin self-advocating for female rights even if they were specific to factory work. Working class women often faced harsh criticisms for doing what was seen as unfeminine work; however, women workers continued to hold on to their feminine image in the face of criticism. Although populism opened the doors for women to join the work force, several of the ideas that supported women to join such as only as a necessity to supplement their husbands remained harmful to the advancement of women and continued to perpetuate the belief that women were below their husbands. One of the most supportive populist’s leaders in the name of women workers, Evita Peron, created her platform on the idea that her husband Juan Peron was superior to herself and that women should always remain subservient.26 FBy today’s standards, many of the ideas which were seen as progressive at the time are understood as hurtful to the progress of woman’s rights; however, it is important to recognize that these firsts steps of women workers allowed for further progress to
Get Access