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Latin American Women's Protection after Adjustment: A Feminist Critique of Conditional Cash Transfers in Chile and Argentina


  • Constanza Tabbush


This paper analyses conditional cash transfer (CCT) policies in Argentina and Chile from a gender perspective. Policy advocates maintain that, through the income provided by CCTs, women acquire some economic autonomy and empowerment within the household. This positive analysis is, however, tempered by gender-based concerns about the developmental value of conservative appeals to women as “mothers”, founded on traditional cultural norms, in regional policy design. Drawing on these two country examples, the objective of the paper is to assess the terms and conditions of women's inclusion as “conduits of policy” in CCTs in the Southern Cone. Findings indicate that the continuity of policy in Chile's anti-poverty strategies locates women as being accountable for family well-being within a multidimensional and psychological vision of poverty. Chile constitutes a radical example of the extension of women's individual responsibilities in managing household poverty with no collective component. By contrast, in Argentina the role of women appears to be dictated more by continuous changes in the state's definition of poverty alleviation, rather than the developmental objective of empowering women. Women's positioning in CCTs could be labelled as bearers of politics, in a context that transfers to women the duty of socially assisting others while rendering their personal needs progressively less visible.

Suggested Citation

  • Constanza Tabbush, 2010. "Latin American Women's Protection after Adjustment: A Feminist Critique of Conditional Cash Transfers in Chile and Argentina," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(4), pages 437-459.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:38:y:2010:i:4:p:437-459
    DOI: 10.1080/13600818.2010.525327

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Serrano, Claudia, 2005. "La política social en la globalización. Programas de protección en América Latina," Asuntos de Género 70, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    2. Laura B. Rawlings, 2004. "A New Approach to Social Assistance: Latin America’s Experience with Conditional Cash Transfer Programs," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11813, The World Bank.
    3. Villatoro S., Pablo, 2004. "Programas de reducción de la pobreza en América Latina. Un análisis de cinco experiencias," Políticas Sociales 87, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    4. Rawlings, Laura B., 2004. "A new approach to social assistance : Latin America's experience with conditional cash transfer programs," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 30165, The World Bank.
    5. Pautassi, Laura C. & Faur, Eleonor & Gherardi, Natalia, 2004. "Legislación laboral en seis países latinoamericanos. Avances y omisiones para una mayor equidad," Asuntos de Género 56, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    6. Arriagada, Irma & Mathivet, Charlotte, 2007. "Los programas de alivio a la pobreza Puente y Oportunidades: una mirada desde los actores," Políticas Sociales 134, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    7. Brière, Bénédicte de la & Rawlings, Laura B., 2006. "Examining conditional cash transfer programs : a role for increased social inclusion?," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 90341, The World Bank.
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