Via WIDE - Women in Development Europe Network

Globalizing Gender Equality & Social Justice

WIDE Stories of Women's Empowerment


WIDE Website Link - Case Studies including:

A case study from Latin America: The Movement of Agricultural Women in Struggle (MMAL) in Argentina



Direct Link to Argentina Story:


LUCY - SMALL FARMER - ARGENTINA PAMPA (Central-Eastern Farming Area of

    Argentina) - About 60 Years Old - Four Daughters


Lucy's story is of debts incurred by small and medium scale farmers in Argentina in the 1990's. During this decade, small and medium scale rural producers were affected by the process of "modernization" implanted by the neoliberal model. This was the central issue around which the Movement of Agricultural Women in Struggle (MMAL) was initially organized. In additional to tackling the issue of farmers' debt, the MMAL was also critical of the political system and banking sector. Its first collective action began in May 1995 when Lucy de Cornelis receifved announcement that her family farm was about to be auctioned. Lucy was convinced that her family's debt was unjust.


Lucy and colleagues went to the village radio station, and to newspapers, to say that MMAL was going to have an assembly of 350 women from different parts of the province. They told their story, sang the national anthem, and prayed. These peaceful obstructionist methods were an innovation compared to previous forms of struggle.


The pressure imposed by the MMAL over the banking system provoked the banks to extend payment deadlines, and therefore to stop the immediate threat of auctions.


The MMAL's actions have made the farmers' common economic situation visible, and have made it possible to create innovative and effective ways for improvement.


Although the movement's concrete achievements so far are limited, the social and political process of creating a solidarity network that connects the local with the national and global, has been the main factor in the MMAL women's empowerment.



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