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Chicano Movement

Gender

The gender issue was sharply raised by individuals, organizations, and community activists in several Chicana/o movement areas starting in the late 1960s. Particularly noticeable were matters related to women in community settings and youth and student circles and on the perceived subordination of women and gender issues within the movement itself. Nonetheless, women obviously participated in all efforts associated with the Chicano movement. Any reference to its subsumed activities objectively implied female participation even as some pointed out that traditional gender roles were enforced, meaning that women could only occasionally assume leadership roles in many movement organizations. Inspired by militant women, Chicanas integrated Mexican and Latin American feminist heritages and drew from the contemporary radical feminist programs. Increasingly, women's organizations grew out of community actions, political campaigns, union groups, campus activities, and inmate and ex-felon concerns. The late 1960s and the 1970s witnessed an increasing emphasis on full female participation in all aspects of community civic efforts as well as on the development of activities specific to women. At the same time, movement newspapers and journals increased their coverage on issues pertinent to gender issues.

Chicanas believed in Chicana solutions to Chicana problems the same way that Chicanos upheld Chicano solutions to Chicano problems. The initial impetus was for a critique of stereotypes impeding gender equality. This thrust grew organizationally, and its edge reflected the internal dynamics within movement organizations. Eventually a view of Chicanas as the victims of multiple oppressions (as women, ethnics, and workers) evolved. Female activity remained strongest in community arenas such as those of unionization and public services. The majority of Chicana activists participated in organizations that were not exclusively female, but gender issues arose in all groups and circumstances and were dealt with in one way or another. Over time Chicana/o organizations have had prominent female members. In fact, MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), a highly visible civil rights organization, has had two long-term national women leaders. Women in higher education circles had advantaged access to forums from the 1980s onward and publicized their views and priorities. Despite resistance and controversy, veteran militants did not ultimately defer the feminist concerns, and eventually a persistent strain of efforts addressed the needs and concerns of lesbian and bisexual women.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Categorical judgement to ChimaeraChicano Movement - Contents, Cultural Context, Ideology, Gender, Universalism, Problems And Achievements, Conclusion, Bibliography