Women's Political Mobilization in Argentina Stemming from the Last Military Dictatorship
I went to Buenos Aires in the summer of 2011 to research the effect of Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo on women in modern day politics. I became interested in how Las Madres used their roles as mothers to garner international attention toward their cause. However, upon arriving in Argentina, my research began to shift. Argentina has some of the highest levels of female involvement in politics in the world, and currently has a female President. I interviewed women involved in academia, journalism, social organizations and partisan politics in regards to their history and experiences as women in politics. As a result of the full research process, in this paper, I propose to examine how women in modern day politics see their strength of purpose and/or their agenda, coming out of their reaction to the last military dictatorship (1976 - 1982.) By examining the groups of women formed under the dictatorship, including Las Madres, political prisoners and women in exile I hope to discern not only how they sustained their political involvement through today, but also what substantive elements run through that involvement in terms of perspectives and policy positions. Methodologically, I did research through University coursework on the history of Argentina and on feminist theory, independent research in Argentina (original language newspapers, books) and, most importantly, I carried out fifteen interviews with relevant people. Throughout the research and in the paper, I operate under the assumption that there is in fact, an underlying link between the involvement of women that are currently in politics and the last military dictatorship (1976 – 1982). An important aspect of my interviews was to pull out what the linkage was, and how or if it has affected the political discourse in Argentina. I personally define feminism in a loose manner, referring to people or policies that are motivated explicitly on advancing women's rights, regardless of the manner in which they are pursued. I found the definition of feminism in Argentina to vary quite greatly both from each other and from my own assumption.