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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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The Birth of Popular Front Pan-American Feminism

The Birth of Popular Front Pan-American Feminism

(p.120) Chapter Five The Birth of Popular Front Pan-American Feminism
Feminism for the Americas

Katherine M. Marino

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter charts the rise of Popular Front Pan-American feminism. Starting in the mid-1930s, this movement emphasized women’s social and economic, as well as civil and political rights, and allied with a trasnational popular front movement that promoted workers’ rights and opposed rising global and national fascism. Marta Vergara, a member of the Inter-American Commission of Women and member of the Chilean Communist Party, was critical to this development. Allying with Doris Stevens, she also broadened the Commission’s agenda. As the Commission’s representative at the 1936 regional International Labor Organization conference in Santiago, Chile, and at the 1936 Pan American peace conferences in Buenos Aires, Vergara helped expand the meaning of the Equal Rights Treaty to promote women’s social and economic rights, specifically the right to maternity legislation. Although she worked with Stevens, she also recognized Stevens’s lack of investment in workers’, anti-imperialist, and anti-fascist movements. While in Buenos Aires, Vergara built bridges with other leftist feminists from Argentina who together helped create a new organization embodying Popular Front Pan-American feminism: the Confederación Continental de Mujeres por la Paz. This group would be critical to expanding the relevance and reach of inter-American feminism.

Keywords:   Marta Vergara, Doris Stevens, Popular Front, anti-fascism, Popular Front Pan-American feminism, Pan-American peace congresses, International Labor Organization, maternity legislation, Argentina, Confederación Continental de Mujeres por la Paz

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