Women, Development, and the State in Rural Ecuador
This chapter focuses on two of the country's regions—the sierra and the coast—since the oriente has become significant on a national level relatively recently, and no studies are available on the effects of colonization on oriente women. It analyzes the historical differences between coastal and highland Ecuador in terms of agricultural production and the sexual division of labor. The chapter also focuses on the nature of the agrarian reform programs implemented by the state during the 1960s and 1970s. Up until the 1920s, one product dominated agricultural production in coastal Ecuador: cacao. The large landholding was also the dominant unit of production in this region, but it differed from that in the sierra in a number of important ways. Cacao production itself had a tremendous impact on the national economy—Ecuador cornered the world market by the late 1800s—and cacao hacendados had a great deal of control over the political situation in the country, often holding key political positions.