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Thesis: Women in Latin America fought valiantly for a say in government throughout the twentieth century. Eventually, over time, they gained more power in government. After a wave of social revolutions for equal rights throughout North America and Europe, Latin America would soon begin their own. During these revolutions in Latin America, women began to question their roles in politics and pushed for equal rights. When the revolutions for freedom from foreigners ended, women pushed even further for equal representation in their newly formed republics. In the 1900’s, men in Latin America governments would repeatedly deny women’s rights. However, as time went on, governments would start incorporating women into their systems.
Many men in government did not believe women should have a say in government. Opposition claimed that women could only be happy at home, and to let men squabble in politics (Document 1). The author of this letter was raised up in a society dominated by males, and he was a male in a government where only men could participate in. He would have never known what women could contribute. Some men would even argue that women in politics would be disastrous. In Document 6, the letter to the president was written to confirm the president’s fears that if he allowed women to vote, he would forever be known to cause trouble in Mexico. Some women also point out these inequalities against women, but not just in politics (Document 10).
As time went on and revolutions such as the Mexican Revolution began, women began a call to enact reforms and attain rights. They began to request a change to vote in government to be able to protect themselves (Document 2). In Document 5, Marin calls for everybody, not just women, to fight for a just leader. Being an anarchist, this may have been because she realized traditional governments could no longer serve their needs, and a new type of government, if any, was needed. Women also began to protest the unjust actions of the government against women, as shown in Document 8. The picture proves that women could indeed have power if they began to protest.
Women, and even men, began to realize and voice how women could indeed make an impact in politics. For example, women played a significant role in the Mexican Revolution. In Document 3, the women depicted were used to prove that women could used weapons just as well as men, and weren’t afraid to use it. Socialist parties began in Latin America to fight for the equal representation of men and women (Document 7). In the small instances women could have power in government, it encouraged others to do the same (Document 9). Eventually, men also realized that women in politics would not be as drastic as it would seem. Writing to an audience of people devoted to a democracy, the author addressed the fear of women becoming socialist (Document 4). At the time, even before the Cold War, socialism was seen as a terrible thing. The countries in Latin America had followed in America’s footsteps to rebel against foreign powers and became democratic, with constitutions of their own.
Latin America’s struggle for equality was remarkably similar to the one in the United States. In both, women fought for their rights through protest, all while men wanted to keep them down in the shadows. Additionally, women in both cases were able to win more rights and suffrage. However, the women in the U.S. did not truly start protesting until the Women’s movement in the 1960’s, after when African Americans were given rights. They wanted the same rights as them too, including to vote.
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