The Appearance of All, the Reality of Nothing Politics and Gender in the Dominican Republic, 1880-1961
This dissertation examines the feminist movement in the Dominican Republic and particularly its most visible organization, the Acción Feminista Dominicana, during the dictatorship of General Rafael L. Trujillo from 1930 to 1961. The purpose of this research is to reinterpret the role of women as political actors during the Trujillo regime.
The Dominican feminists collaborated with the dictatorship as providers of social assistance, as creators and transmitters of propaganda, and as intermediaries for the state in the mobilization of other women. They established and maintained cross-class alliances and international networks that fed into the regime's needs. This role as power- brokers – albeit limited due to the authoritarian nature of the government and their own weakness as a group – cemented middle class women's loyalty to Trujillo because it gave them an entry into the official patronage systems vital to Dominican society at the time.
The Dominican case points to a connection between the support of middle class women and the survival of authoritarian governments, highlighting the importance of class over gender or other considerations in these women's political choices.
0432: Caribbean Studies
0453: Womens studies