Becoming a Socia: Income Generation for Women and Women's Social Power in Manabi, Ecuador


Kathleen DeWalt - Professor of Anthropology and Public Health, Director, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh


Abstract: The coast of Ecuador has been famous, or infamous as one of the most machista regions of Ecuador.  Against the backdrop of highly patriarchal gender relations in Manabí, several women’s productive cooperatives were developed and funded by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in the late 1980s.  The researchers have followed the associations and the women who are members (socias) since 1989.  We have collected oral and life history materials and conducted a survey that includes both socias and non-socias and communities with associations and those without associations.  We are able to assess the impact of participation in relatively successful productive cooperatives on the social power of the women who participated in them, and the more generalized impact on their families and communities.  Nearly 20 years later some of the women who participated in the cooperatives continue to develop leadership skills and others have moved into more regional leadership roles.  Others have seen little difference in their lives. 



This speaker is sponsored by the Center for Latin American Research