An examination of young women in the Nicaraguan women's and feminist movement
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More than thirty years after the Nicaraguan Revolution of 1979, the women’s and feminist movement has developed into one of the country’s foremost social movements. However, some observers of Nicaraguan civil society claim that young people today are disengaged from political and social mobilization, unlike previous decades where they were a key demographic in the revolutionary cause. If true, the women’s and feminist movement may fail to attract new members and may cease to be a strong leader of women’s rights and democratic principles. This study seeks to further previous analyses of the movement by considering the perspective of its younger participants. As such, qualitative interviews were conducted with twenty young women members of the movement in the spring of 2011 to understand two questions: why do young women participate in the women’s and feminist movement in Nicaragua, and how do they view their role within the movement? The interviews suggest that 1) moral shock and framing, which were important in the recruitment of members to the revolutionary movement, are not as prevalent today; 2) feminist activism is still relevant for the younger generation though the term ‘feminism’ is ever changing; 3) the young participants in the women’s and feminist movement in Nicaragua are ensuring its continuity during a period which is largely unfavourable to its demands. The study is guided by two bodies of literature: the recruitment of individuals to social movements, and trends of generational change within women’s and feminists movements in English-speaking democracies. Additionally, it is framed by the history of social mobilization of women and youth throughout Nicaragua in the 20th century.