Gendered Paradoxes

Women’s Movements, State Restructuring, and Global Development in Ecuador

Amy Lind 2005

E-Book: 199 English Pages

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Since the early 1980s Ecuador has experienced a series of events unparalleled in its history. Its “free market” strategies exacerbated the debt crisis, and in response new forms of social movement organizing arose among the country’s poor, including women’s groups. Gendered Paradoxes focuses on women’s participation in the political and economic restructuring process of the past twenty-five years, showing how in their daily struggle for survival Ecuadorian women have both reinforced and embraced the neoliberal model yet also challenged its exclusionary nature.

Drawing on her extensive ethnographic fieldwork and employing an approach combining political economy and cultural politics, Amy Lind charts the growth of several strands of women’s activism and identifies how they have helped redefine, often in contradictory ways, the real and imagined boundaries of neoliberal development discourse and practice. In her analysis of this ambivalent and “unfinished” cultural project of modernity in the Andes, she examines state policies and their effects on women of various social sectors; women’s community development initiatives and responses to the debt crisis; and the roles played by feminist “issue networks” in reshaping national and international policy agendas in Ecuador and in developing a transnationally influenced, locally based feminist movement.


“A nuanced and critical reading of gender, development, and globalization issues. Lind’s panoramic analysis of Ecuadorian women’s negotiations with development projects, the state, neoliberal adjustment policies, and NGOs provides a theoretical framework and an ethnographic account of issues with a global resonance. Exploring the gendered political cultures of development in Ecuador, she analyses the contradictory processes by which gender, institutions, and political movements come together in the uneven process of neoliberal restructuring.”

—Sarah A. Radcliffe, University of Cambridge

“Amy Lind provides an excellent account of the paradoxes of gendered neoliberal politics in a country about which little on this topic has been published. Through a detailed analysis of women’s organizational and community survival strategies, the author ably demonstrates how women’s politics both reshape and are shaped by the dynamics of neoliberalism. Tackling the essential task of ‘making feminist sense of neoliberalism,’ Lind’s timely study provides invaluable insights into the contradictions of development and globalization.”

—Lynne Phillips, University of Windsor


Amy Lind is Mary Ellen Heintz Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Cincinnati.