Hivos International

Social movements and citizenship in Central America: The women’s movement and the struggle for their rights in Nicaragua

The belligerence with which the women’s movement has defended its rights during the last ten years has made it to stand out as one of the main political actors of the country. Its level of development and articulation permitted the realization of systematic actions of denunciation, demands and mobilization on behalf of women’s rights, in particular, sexual and civil rights all over Nicaragua’s territory. Specially important has been the struggle developed during the last three years in order to avoid the abolition of therapeutical abortion by the Nicaraguan State and later for its restitution and decriminalization as a legitimate right of women.

The intensity and consistency of its actions has placed the movement  in the national public agenda, earning recognition, legitimacy and  public presence with its political standing regarding women’s rights and  the overall situation of the country. Furthermore, for the government  it has become a political adversary to reckon with due to its capacity  for pressure, confrontation and conflict. During these years the women’s  movement has experienced a process of identity building clearly based  in two pillars: autonomy in relation to the State, political parties,  religious groups and other actors; and a feminist position. It has  gained strength in organization and politics, in such a manner that is  one of society most active actors.

The study took into account a broad participation of the movement’s  leaders through the different activities of knowledge exchange and  reflections involved at national and local level.  This exercise of an  ample and frank debate allowed to go in deeply into some  important  aspects such as: the background of the movement, the strategies, the  relationship with different social and political actors, the strength of  the movement and the challenges for the future.  It also incorporates  the assessment and voices of the autonomous regions of the Caribbean  Coast, in order to know their perspectives on the movement.

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