Institutional Change in Constrained Circumstances: Gender, Resistance, and Critical Actors in the Chilean Executive

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As gender equality actors rarely have sufficient power to create new institutions, we ask how they can achieve positive gender change in constrained circumstances when the creation of new rules is not possible. Building on a feminist institutionalist approach to analyse gendered institutional dynamics, power and resistance, we open the ‘black box’ of one executive: Michelle Bachelet’s first presidency (2006-10) in Chile. Using theory-guided process tracing and primarily qualitative data, we examine key reforms in three policy areas —health, pensions, and childcare—that were central to Bachelet’s first programme. By analysing how efforts to incorporate positive gender change fared differently in each area, we show how far utilizing, subverting or converting existing rules - more ‘hidden’ forms of change, often away from legislatures - can be effective, if limited, strategies when facing resistance.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-74
Number of pages25
JournalLatin American Politics and Society
Issue number4
Early online date12 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

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