The overall theme of this article revolves around discrimination against women in different areas (such as in their political life, employment, and education) and tries to establish whether it is possible for women to overcome these types of discrimination. The author notes that the recent developments in the struggle towards ending discrimination have led to the creation of movements that advocate for women’s rights.
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These movements have created boundaries that define women’s activities and provide them with power or authority to control certain fields. This is done with the aim of reducing or eliminating rebellions or negative reactions from women. The author observes that women from different countries (such as Latin America) were denied their fundamental freedom and rights to participate in political events such as voting.
During this period, the contribution and activities of women in politics were only limited to the “… indirect, tangential, a reinforcement of the masculine struggle” (p.331). Also, “…few women acted on their own; almost all notable women were wives, mistresses or daughters to notable men…” (p.331). This practice continued for a very long time.
It only began to change in the final stages of the seventeenth century. During this time, women started to create groups or associations that could help them to raise collective arguments regarding their social status and conditions in society. By exploring the author’s arguments, it is evident that women struggled to achieve gender balance.
It is also vital to note that the author has managed to employ appropriate strategies that help the reader to understand the level of effort that came from the women in an attempt to fight discrimination. The author achieves the latter by quoting examples of women from countries such as Latin America who offered a tremendous contribution to end the practice.
The author asserts that “Latin America also boasts distinguished women of letters, beginning with Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz who first broke the silence of women in the seventeenth century” (p.331). The author also observes that only women who were relatively privileged were allowed to participate in active politics or work in male-dominated professions.
It was also a requirement for these women to be within either the upper or middle class. In my view, this was not a fair practice since this method hindered other potential women (not in upper or middle class) from participating in politics. Such practices were likely to negatively affect the level of effort undertaken by women to protect themselves against discrimination from their male counterparts.
However, the author notes that the level of resonance was not similar in all countries. It was largely dependent on the level of women’s struggle in a particular country. For example, the feminism model from British-North America that was witnessed towards the end of the nineteenth century and early 20th century did not face any major challenge from women in Latin America.
In the article, the author notes that several women’s groups from Latin America were established and operated by women. Moreover, they mainly focused on local struggles. Chaney (1973) is quite categorical that “the movement for women’s suffrage properly began in 1915 when Amanda Labarca founded a Circulo de Lectura (Women’s Reading Circle)” (p.336).
This demonstrates the high level of determination that women had in achieving their rights and freedom. Based on this scenario, it is evident that the author supported women in fighting for their rights. This is one of the reasons why the author uses myriads of examples in this article to illustrate the women’s struggle in ending discrimination.
It is worth to mention that after Amanda Labarca founded the Women’s Reading Circle, several other women’ groups were established to reach other women who were not holding positions in their groups. This was also meant to awaken them and increase their understanding of various issues, especially matters that relate to politics.
In my view, the author had used an appropriate methodology that includes illustrations and explanations in an attempt to how different aspects that existed when women were trying to eliminate discrimination. In this article, the author had emphasized and clearly explained the different strategies used by women to achieve their objectives when they had suffered high levels of discrimination.
The author argues that the establishment of national councils played a pivotal role especially in helping to create avenues that could be used by women to agitate and bargain for their feminist movements in the future. National councils also helped the women to develop well-established coalitions that could help to spread the need to liberate women and provide them with adequate mass support.
All the coalitions formed at that time were required to have women leaders with different political ideologies. I believe that the author insists on this form of a coalition so that it can help strengthen and unite women as they struggle to gain their right to vote.
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Although the author has managed to employ a very good strategy in explaining how women struggled to fight discrimination, I believe that the author failed to observe some key considerations to help the reader in understanding the contents of the article. For example, the author has only used a limited number of sub-themes that may likely to complicate or confuse the leaders.
According to my perspective, I believe that the author should have divided the article into numerous sections. Each section should have discussed a particular issue. Discussing different ideas in a single section may lead to a lack of coherence. Therefore, it can also deter some readers from reading fully.
Another major weakness of this article is the absence of a concluding paragraph. A conclusion serves a very vital role when writing an article. This is the section where the author tries to summarize all the important ideas that have been discussed in the article. The fact that there are some people who avoid reading long articles, a conclusion paragraph can help such readers to understand the content of the article without having to read the whole article.
However, the inclusion of a question in the last section of the article where the author notes “Latin American women themselves will decide their course of action in the context of their own culture and aspiration” (p. 341) gives women an option where they can identify and adopt whatever they feel is important to them. This means that the author does not limit the decisions of other people to his views. However, he offers the audience a chance to exercise what they feel is right.
Chaney, E.M. (1973).Old and New Feminists in Latin America: The Case of Peru and Chile. Journal of Marriage and the Family 5(2), 331-343.