Women can vote now : feminism and the women's suffrage movement in Argentina, 1900-1955
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In 1900, the first women’s political organization in Argentina, the National Council of Women, met for the first time. The Council brought together feminists from a range of ideologies, and attempted to unite women of all social classes in an effort to uphold their rights. However, the experience of the Council demonstrated that differences of personality, political orientation, and especially socioeconomic status created barriers that appeals to a common female identity could not overcome. Although most feminists agreed on the need for reforms such as the right to vote, they did not agree on the best means for achieving those goals, or on the priorities for the women’s rights movement. Nevertheless, the campaign for suffrage gained considerable momentum over the years, helping to reinforce and reinforced by movements for educational reform, workplace protection, and legislation on divorce, prostitution, and alcohol. The suffrage movement therefore gained credibility despite the attitude of the government, which usually ignored women’s voting rights as an issue. It was not until 1947 that the government of Juan Perón finally enacted a national suffrage law, followed by the creation of the Peronist Women’s Party under the leadership of his wife, Evita. In this way, Perón co-opted the women’s movement, appealing directly to working class women while bypassing middle class feminists. The Peronist Women’s Party continued to mobilize female voters after Evita’s death in 1952, placing women in the national congress until Perón’s overthrow in 1955.