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By Samuel George Smith

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The new law gave women the right to vote in elections for regidores (the equivalent of members of the city council) and alcaldes (mayors), as well as to run for these offices. This represented a very limited extension of women’s political rights, particularly given that the mayors in large cities (those with more than 100,000 residents) were not elected but rather appointed by the President of the Republic (Klimpel 1962: 116 n. 63). Importantly, the government created separate registries for female voters and established separate polling places for them.

In this sense, one might say that activists in women’s movements perform gender identity (Butler 1990). When women mobilize as women, they appeal to a certain set of expectations about women’s behavior and tap into widely held and commonly recognized cultural norms about women’s status in society. Yet they do so in order to highlight women’s shared experience of exclusion from political power. Conclusion My study predicts that women’s movements will emerge under two conditions: partisan realignment and framing conflict in terms of widely held cultural norms about gender difference.

I suggest, however, that focusing on women’s specific, policy12 Tipping, Timing, and Framing oriented interests leads us away from understanding why women protest as women – that is, on the basis of their gender identity. I argue that all women’s movements invoke their identity as women in order to emphasize two things: their uniqueness in relation to men and their interest in having greater access to decision making. Women mobilize on the basis of their gender identity in the hopes of influencing political outcomes determined primarily by male elites.

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