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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. Servaas Van Der Berg & Megan Louw, 2004. "Changing Patterns Of South African Income Distribution: Towards Time Series Estimates Of Distribution And Poverty," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(3), pages 546-572, September.
    2. Sambanis, Nicholas, 1999. "Ethnic partition as a solution to ethnic war - an empirical critique of the theoretical literature," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2208, The World Bank.
    3. Ukoha Ukiwo, 2005. "The Study of Ethnicity in Nigeria," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(1), pages 7-23.
    4. Maasoumi, Esfandiar, 1986. "The Measurement and Decomposition of Multi-dimensional Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 991-997, July.
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