The Paradox of Paternalism:
Women and the Politics of Authoritarianism in the Dominican Republic

Elizabeth S. Manley

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"An exciting study that reveals the complexity of women's multiple political projects, as well as the importance of feminism--widely defined--as a powerful political force."--Jadwiga E. Pieper Mooney, author of The Politics of Motherhood

"An engaging overview of the role played by women in supporting and contesting authoritarian regimes in the twentieth-century Dominican Republic."--Nicola Foote, coeditor of Immigration and National Identities in Latin America

"Tells the very important story of women's participation in Dominican. It will quickly become a classic in the field of Latin American women's history."--Victoria González-Rivera, author of Before the Revolution


From the rise of dictator Rafael Trujillo in the early 1930s through the twelve-year rule of his successor Joaquín Balaguer in the 1960s and 1970s, women are frequently absent or erased from public political narratives in the Dominican Republic. The Paradox of Paternalism shows how women proved themselves as skilled, networked, and non-threatening agents, becoming indispensable to a carefully orchestrated national and international reputation. They garnered concrete political gains like suffrage and paved the way for their continued engagement with the politics of the Dominican state through intense periods of authoritarianism and transition.

In this volume, Elizabeth Manley explains how women activists from across the political spectrum engaged with the state by working within both authoritarian regimes and inter-American networks, founding modern Dominican feminism, and contributing to the rise of twentieth-century women's liberation movements in the Global South.

Elizabeth S. Manley is associate professor of history at Xavier University of Louisiana.
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