Before the Revolution: Women's Rights and Right-wing Politics in Nicaragua, 1821-1979
Those who survived the brutal dictatorship of the Somoza family have tended to portray the rise of the women's movement and feminist activism as part of the overall story of the anti-Somoza resistance. But this mythic depiction of heroic struggle conceals a much more complicated history, which Victoria Gonz lez-Rivera unravels in this book. As early as 1837, she shows, some Nicaraguan women expressed interest in eliminating the tyranny of male domination, and this interest grew into full-fledged campaigns for female suffrage and access to education by the 1880s. By the 1920s a feminist movement emerged among urban, middle-class women and lasted for two more decades until it was eclipsed in the 1950s by a nonfeminist movement of mainly Catholic, urban, middle-class and working-class women who supported the liberal, populist, patron-clientelistic regime of the Somozas in return for the right to vote and various economic, educational, and political opportunities. Counterintuitively, it was actually the Somozas who encouraged the participation of women in the public sphere (as long as they remained loyal Somocistas), whereas their opponents, the Sandinistas and Conservatives, often appealed to women through their maternal identity. What emerges from this fine-grained analysis is a picture of a much more complex political landscape than that portrayed by the simplifying myths of current Nicaraguan historiography, and we can now see why and how the Somoza dictatorship did not endure by dint of fear and compulsion alone.
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Chapter 1 Feminism Before Somoza
Chapter 2 From Feminism to Partisan Suffregist Politics
Chapter 3 The Aftermath of Womens Suffrage
Chapter 4 Somocista Womens Lives
Chapter 5 The Activism and Legacy of Nicolasa Sevilla
Chapter 6 Sex and Somocismo
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active activists Ala Femenina Ala leaders Ala members Ala’s Alemán Alice Paul American Anastasio Somoza Debayle Anastasio Somoza García Año anti-Somocista Antonia Rodríguez pseud Archivo Arnoldo Alemán Borge de Sotomayor century Chamorro clientelistic Cobo del Arco Daniel Ortega di¤erent Doris Stevens Doris Stevens Papers e¤ect e¤orts economic elections feminism first-wave first-wave feminism FSLN gender González Historia de Nicaragua Ibid interview by author José Josefa Toledo Juanita Molina Kampwirth Latin America Liberal women Luis Somoza Debayle Managua María Gámez Marta García Matagalpa middle-class Molina de Fromen moral mothers National Guard Nationalist Liberal Party neo-Somocistas Nicaraguan women Nicolasa Sevilla Noguera Carazo o¤ered oªcial organization participation Partido Liberal percent population Prensa Presidencial president prostitution pseudonym rape role Sacasa Sección sexual social Somocismo Somocista women Somoza dictatorship story su¤ered su¤ragists Tijerino tion Toledo de Aguerri Tomás Borge twentieth-century urban vote woman women’s political women’s rights women’s su¤rage working-class Zeledón