Today, after decades of dictatorial rule, nearly all of Latin America (minus Cuba) is nominally democratic. Following a wave of transitions to civilian rule that began in the 1970s, many countries of the region entered a period of democratic consolidation characterized by greater respect for human rights and more opportunities for civic participation on the part of formerly marginalized sectors of the population, including women, in the burgeoning nongovernmental sector and within government. In the fi rst decade of the twenty-fi rst century this participation brought to power progressive governments throughout Latin America and the promise of a deepening of democracy that should bode well for women throughout the hemisphere.