Women lead the Opposition to Allende

My source, an interview with Carmen Saenez, focused on the role of women in Chile’s opposition of president Salvador Allende. The highlight of the source was Saenez’s description of the March of the Empty Pots in which she partook, a revolutionary stand made by middle and upper class women. The source described the march as “a dramatic anti-Allende protest in which participants beat nosily on pots in order to draw attention to alleged shortages and accelerating inflation affecting their families.” The pressures of Chile’s crumbling economy was heavily felt by the women who had families to care for, sparking the fire that became the March of the Empty Pots protest with the help of various opposition radio stations that encouraged people to speak out against Allende. One of my questions to the class was: “why were the female protestors only middle and upperclass women?” In class we learned much about the Chilean working and lower class’s struggles with Allende’s presidency and the failing economy. After learning about the various strikes held by Chilean workers, in factories and mines, it is interesting to note that no women from the same lower/working classes participated in the march. I believe the march consisted of only middle and upper class women because they were finally feeling the economic pressures that are already so prevalent for the lower classes. To clarify, I believe that once the middle and working class women began to experience and understand the struggle that lower classes had been facing for years in Chile, they took a stand to stop it. By using their privilege, or their higher social class, they were able to produce a larger impact. And as discussed in my presentation, Chile’s March of the Empty Pots was extremely influential. Venezuela’s women recently took the streets and held the same march in opposition to Maduro’s administration in 2014. I thought it was important to note the March of the Empty Pots’ impact not only in 1970’s when it was held, but also in the present and future.

Do you think the March of the Empty Pots was a successful protest?

It is important to note how it was successful but also in what aspects it wasn’t. In my opinion, it was successful because it gave women a voice and a power they lacked during much of Latin America’s history, and even started the Poder Feminino movement. However, it can also be viewed as unsuccessful because it was unable to produce any positive change in terms of Chile’s developmental and financial situation.

The link to my in class source analysis: Presentation on “Women Lead the Opposition to Allende”

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