Feminist Policymaking in Chile

By (author) Liesl Haas

Paperback - £24.95

Publication date:

15 October 2011

Length of book:

240 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271037479

The election of Michelle Bachelet as president of Chile in 2006 gave new impetus to the struggle in that country for legislation to improve women’s rights and highlighted a process that had already been under way for some time. In Feminist Policymaking in Chile, Liesl Haas investigates the efforts of Chilean feminists to win policy reforms on a broad range of gender equity issues—from labor and marriage laws, to educational opportunities, to health and reproductive rights. Between 1990 and 2008, sixty-three bills were put forward in the Chilean legislature as a result of pressure brought by the feminist movement and its allies. Haas examines all these bills, identifying the conditions under which feminist policymaking was most likely to succeed. In doing so, she develops a predictive theory of policy success that is broadly applicable to other Latin American countries.

“Haas persuasively argues that feminist policymaking can be explained as a process of political learning in which Chilean women's rights activists engaged over time. Surprising changes in policy toward abortion, domestic violence, and reproductive rights occurred as movement strategies, action within the parties, and legislative activity evolved over time. Haas is uniquely positioned to analyze the feminist movement in Chile because her research covers more than ten years of observations about feminist politics. This is a real strength that other books lack. Taking the long view allows her to show how activists learned to navigate the newly democratic political terrain. I find this a compelling way to think about change in the Chilean case and an apt way to explain policy outcomes in other countries as well.”

—Lisa Baldez, Dartmouth College