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Kenneth Jimenez

PID: 3629783

Womens Role in Peronist Argentina

The 1940s and 50s were very agitated decades that involved big changes in the worlds

political climate, and Argentina was not exempt of this. In 1945, the figure of Juan Domingo

gained more and more power, until he became elected president in 1946 and occupied this seat

until the mid 50s. Peronism changed every sphere of Argentines society and of course, this

includes the role women had played in this country before. Peronism reinvented the role of

women in Argentina and we can see this reflected by analyzing the situation working women

were facing before Pern, the relationship between the feminist movement and Peronism and

the influence and power executed by the Partido Peronista Femenino.

One of the key elements that Pern used to build his political imagery and charisma was

the creation of this bond with the working class, or as he used to call them los descamisados.

He identified himself as the first descamisado, meaning that he was one of them but at the

same time that he had power over them as they were meant to follow him. Women were a big

part of the working sector prior to Perons government. They had to deal with numerous

inequalities like getting paid less than their working male colleagues, having more troubles to

find a job facing other numerous conditions of inequality. Therefore, the Peronist government

referred to them as descamisadas (the female counterpart to the descamisados). However,

women were still thought to have a secondary unimportant role in society, and people still

thought that their place was at home raising the kids and taking care of the house. Another

important historic fact is that women in Argentina were not allowed to vote at the time, and this

inspired a lot of feminist movements to try to change it. With Peronism a lot of this things
changed, but its definitely important to understand the context in which this political changes

began to happen.

Feminism was a movement that had been taking more and more strength in Argentina

towards the mid 40s. If the working conditions argentinian women had to deal with were bad,

their political landscape was even worse. A living example of this is the fact that they werent

allowed to vote until 1947, when Peron granted them this right on his first years in charge.

However, this generated various tensions and disconformities amongst the feminist movements

because they were being granted with rights they had a lifetime fighting for from a government

they didnt support and they even considered illegitimate. Nonetheless, the reality was that

peronism could offer women what feminist movements hadnt: concrete results. These was

definitely a key factor in gaining women support and building his political imagery around a

contrasting reality presented by peronism in which feminism was synonim of fight but no results,

and peronism meant positive concrete change. Peron turned feminism into that past were we

didnt wanna go back, and made peronism into the change and future were we wanna go.

Another key point in understanding women and peronism was the creation of the Partido

Peronista Femenino. The main objective of this branch of the peronist political party was to

make women spread peronism everywhere they were and in every action of their social lives.

To be a Peronist for a woman means, above all, fidelity to Pern, subordination to Pern, and

blind confidence in Pern. This were the words Eva Peron pronounced during the first

conference of the PPF, making more than clear the goals the government had for this organism.

She was one of the most powerful women(if not the most) of the time and still, peronism

appropriated her story and presented her as a descamisada and a women whos goal had never

been to gain power but to praise and thanks Pern for all he had done for all of them. Eva was
in charge of it, and with her charisma and the love people already had for her she managed to

cultivate the peronist agenda amongst other women, peronist and even non peronist.

In conclusion, womens role in Argentine society during the Peronist government

suffered a dramatic shift; it went from being an overlooked sector of society by politicians to

playing a key role in the spread and continuity of peronism. Pern understood the potential

power that resided in this sector of the population, and managed to use it to help build his

political imagery and expand the love for his regime. With the first lady, Eva Peron, leading this

indoctrination of women, peronism managed to control the minds of this sector of society and

gain more power, putting women at the center of the discussion in Perons agenda.