Guardians of Life: Making Sense of Gender Equality and Women´s Activism Within Ecuador´s Indigenous Movement

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi; Lunds universitet/LUMID International Master programme in applied International Development and Management

Sammanfattning: Much attention has been paid to Indigenous gender ideologies and Indigenous women´s political participation in Latin America. The construction of gender equality and its implications for Indigenous women’s activism in Ecuador´s Indigenous movement is, however, widely undiscovered terrain. The purpose of this qualitative case study of CONAIE was to address this gap and connect the dots by asking: How is gender equality constructed within the principal Indigenous confederation in Ecuador, CONAIE? In what ways does this understanding enable or restrict Indigenous women´s political activism within CONAIE? As this study aims to explore women´s activism, I mainly interviewed women. I shed light on these questions by using the theoretical framework of Indigenous feminism to stress the importance of situating Indigenous women´s struggles within Indigenous worldview and the larger Indigenous struggle. The main results of this thesis indicated that dual complementarity is the guiding principle for the construction of gender equality within CONAIE, and that it is largely enabling Indigenous women’s political activism in protests and ceremonies by emphasising the importance of practising complementarity for the IM´s success and for establishing harmony in all aspects of life. Persisting patriarchal structures, however, stand in the way for applying this principle fully within the movement, resulting in restrictions of women´s activism and the need for separate spaces for women.

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