LAC Digest 4 Review

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Research from UM political scientist Merike Blofield, director of Women’s and Gender Studies and 2017 U-MIA lead for Gender and Social Development, opens our digest with two justpublished articles stemming from a one-day symposium at U-MIA in spring 2017, entitled Gender Equality Post-Millennium in Latin America. Blofield’s research focuses on gender and socio-economic inequalities, politics and policy, with a focus on Latin America. Her articles examine the effects of Latin America’s pink tide on gender equality and abortion politics. The entire special issue is found here.




MERIKE BLOFIELD, CHRISTINA EWIG, AND JENNIFER M. PISCOPO. (2017) “The Reactive Left: Gender Equality and the Latin American Pink Tide.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 24.4: 345-369.

Abstract: This introduction assesses the effects of Latin America’s pink tide on gender equality in the region. We find that left governments and left competition provide an opportunity for advancing gender equality. However, the dominant pattern during Latin America’s pink tide was one of a reactive left. Pink tide governments typically did not have clearly articulated gender equality initiatives on their immediate policy agendas. Instead, left governments mostly reacted to pressures from domestic gender equality activists. In addition to left ideology and feminist mobilization, left party type and policy type explain progress and setbacks in gender equality across six outcome areas.


Keywords: Pink tide; Latin America; gender equality; reactive left. 


MERIKE BLOFIELD AND CHRISTINA EWIG. (2017) “The Left Turn and Abortion Politics in Latin America.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 24.4: 481510.

Abstract: We address the puzzle of left governments and abortion policy reform during Latin America’s pink tide. Contrary to expectations, left government abortion reforms in this period have ranged from full legalization to supporting absolute prohibition. Confirming previous scholarship, we argue that abortion reform is influenced by public opinion, level of secularization, the strength of feminist mobilization vis-à-vis conservative religious mobilization, and ideology of government. However, while left government is a necessary condition for abortion policy liberalization, it is not a sufficient one: type of left party is crucial. Institutionalized partisan lefts are more likely to liberalize than populist left governments.

Keywords: Abortion politics; pink tide; left governments; Latin America.