Feminist Policymaking in Chile (Paperback)Liesl Haas (author)
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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.
Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 363 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
"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
"Feminist Policymaking in Chile breaks new ground in research on gender politics in Chile by providing a fascinating account of the variables that help or hinder the passage of women's legislation. This expertly researched and executed study provides a sophisticated treatment of political learning and presents the interesting case that a women's executive agency may actually work at cross-purposes with feminists' legislative goals. This book is required reading for those seeking to understand the political status of women in Chile."
--Peter Siavelis, Wake Forest University
"This careful and empirically rich analysis is a hugely valuable contribution to the study of feminist policymaking, not only in Latin America, but more broadly."
--Georgina Waylen, University of Sheffield
"Leisl Haas's book is a welcome contribution to the study of feminist policymaking, and one that brings Latin America to the forefront of this field. Based on extensive interviews and archival work, Haas provides an insightful and engaged analysis of the politics of feminist-inspired legislation on divorce, abortion, and violence against women in Chile. Through her narratives of the legislative process, Haas exhibits an especially acute analysis of the institutional factors that serve to either stymie or advance feminist legislative efforts. Yet, as she makes evident in her case studies, while institutions are critical factors, there is also much room for strategy and politics on any given legislative issue. Haas's study also demonstrates the crucial role of Left parties in advancing feminist agendas. This book will be of interest not only to those engaged in Chilean politics, but also to those more broadly interested in gender and politics, political institutions, and the contemporary importance of Left political parties in the region."
--Christina Ewig, University of Wisconsin-Madison
"This is an exemplary study of Chilean legislative activity. Haas has taken a number of feminist issues--sexual abuse, abortion, and divorce--and tracked them as they worked their way through the Chilean Parliament. . . . Haas follows this all very closely with sharp insights, tallying each representative's position with follow-up interviews. The result is a revealing portrait of Chile's evolving transitional (1990-2008) government, climaxing with the election of Socialist Michelle Bachelet."
--E. M. Dew, Choice
"[Feminist Policymaking in Chile] is a bracing corrective for a tendency to treat political institutions and the opportunity structures that they produce as static and removed from a larger, more dynamic political context. Haas's work convincingly shows how feminist actors located in the executive branch, in the Congress, and in civil society progressively learned to overcome obstacles and create new institutional possibilities in order to promote their legislative goals. Drawing on extensive interviews with many of the most-important feminist activists in all three arenas, Haas reveals how feminist activists learned from early failures and setbacks and how this learning process helped to ensure the later passage of a number of pieces of controversial legislation, including the strengthening of the laws against domestic violence and the legalization of divorce in 2004. . . . Haas's empirically rich work provides a nuanced understanding of Chilean political processes. More broadly, Haas convincingly shows that analysis of policymaking must pay attention to how political actors learn from policy successes and failure and how these lessons become embedded within the overall process. Her engaging analysis is a must-read for scholars working on public policy and would work well in classes on women in politics, gender and politics, comparative public policy, and comparative politics."
--Gwynn Thomas, Political Science Quarterly
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