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Feminism for the AmericasThe Making of an International Human Rights Movement$
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Katherine M. Marino

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469649696

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469649696.001.0001

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A New Force in the History of the World

A New Force in the History of the World

(p.13) Chapter One A New Force in the History of the World
Feminism for the Americas

Katherine M. Marino

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores the birth of Pan-American feminism through a conflict between Uruguayan Paulina Luisi and Brazilian Bertha Lutz. Both women helped develop a new inter-American movement for women’s political, civil, economic, and social rights, and both drew on ideals of a Latin-American-led Pan-Americanism that followed the First World War. However, Luisi privileged a Pan-Hispanic movement led by Spanish-speaking women that could counter U.S. hegemony, while Lutz upheld the U.S. and Brazil as continental leaders. At the 1922 Pan-American Conference of Women in Baltimore, Maryland, Luisi’s proposal created a new inter-American feminist group, but Lutz and U.S. feminist Carrie Chapman Catt became its leaders. This 1922 conference and the Pan-American Association of Women that emerged from it would be critical to unprecedented resolutions at the 1923 Fifth International Conference of American States for the study and discussion of women’s rights at future diplomatic Pan-American conferences. Yet Lutz and Catt’s organization failed to unite many Latin American feminists because of their own dim views about Spanish-speaking feminists’ capacity to organize. These tensions and their conflicts with Luisi demonstrate how centrally discord around language, race, nation, and empire, shaped the early Pan-American feminist movement.

Keywords:   Paulina Luisi, Bertha Lutz, Carrie Chapman Catt, imperialism, imperial feminism, suffrage, Brazil, Uruguay

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