Women's rights in transition: the collision of feminist interest groups, religion and non-governmental organizations in three Latin American countries

Authors

  • Richard Elgar

    Corresponding author
    1. Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA
    • Correspondence to: Richard Elgar, Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4840, USA.

      E-mail: relgar@wsu.edu

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Abstract

This article explores the roles and successes of feminist interest groups, religious interests and non-governmental organizations in promoting or blocking reproductive policies in three Andean countries—Chile, Ecuador and Peru. Access to reproductive services and facilities, such as birth control and elective abortion, in the transitional democracies of Latin America has remained as restricted as under authoritarian regimes. The issue is complicated by the involvement of ideologically driven domestic and foreign interests attempting to influence policy decisions. The political outcomes have significant implications for the nature of democracy and for women's representation across Latin America. The evidence shows that successes have been varied for all women's groups involved in the reproductive rights issue. The primary reason appears to be that, despite advances in political representation in the region, the more established religious interests and other countervailing forces have managed to maintain the status quo in the face of feminist interest group demands. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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