ABSTRACT

The relationship between political institutions and gender equality has been a central topic in debates of feminist scholars and activists in Latin America. While during the 1970s and 1980s this discussion was polarized over the issue of autonomy versus integration and there was great scepticism about the possibilities of pursuing gender equality through public political institutions, since the 1990s the role of political institutions in promoting women’s rights and gender equality has been considered from a much more positive perspective. Political parties, in particular, given their prominent role in enabling political linkages and recruitment into public decision making, in the socialization of political leaders and representatives, in shaping the policy agenda and infl uencing the public debate, have gained centre stage within this debate. They have been considered a key agent for the representation of women’s political views and articulation of gender-related interests. As such, they became a target for gender-oriented strategies.