The Rules of the Game: Feminist Policymaking in Chile.


  • Liesl Haas Universidad Estatal de California


How can we make sense of the conflicting characterizations of the state of women's rights in Chile? In this article, I analyze the progress Chilean women have made since the transition to democracy by focusing on what is inarguably a core component of progress on women's rights: the passage of legislation that promotes the goals of the feminist movement. While the passage of legislation is, of course, not the only test of a society's openness to women's rights, it is undeniably a critical component of any larger program of political, cultural and economic transformation of women's status. The feminist movement that arose under the dictatorship (1973-1989) articulated a well-developed agenda for political change, and the political parties vying for representation in the new government promised to respond to these concerns. To what extent did democracy allow feminists to achieve political change and implement the demands they had developed over the previous sixteen years? By looking at legislative attempts to promote women's equality, we are able to examine the political responsiveness of the Chilean government to citizen claims for equal treatment, which goes to the heart of democratization.