Writing and Rhetoric
political participation; women's studies; feminism
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Chilean women face inequality in political participation. There is a large gap in gender representation in Chilean politics, despite the election of a woman to the presidency—twice. Feminist theory has long been at play in Chilean academia, and my research builds upon some of the basic propositions of feminist theory: the patriarchy and oppression of women, and the double standards faced by women in their private vs. public lives. Michelle Bachelet’s presidency, along with the recent “quota law,” both provide historical and present-day context to the issues faced by women and their political participation. Based on the data collected by interviewing five female students at the University of Viña del Mar regarding their experience with political participation and gender discrimination and inequality, I argue that there is an inherent inequality in these young women’s access to politics in Chile. The participants detailed the ways in which they participate in politics, how they perceive their own access to politics as women, and how they express their own political identities in light of the inequality they face. Following the personal experiences and ideas proposed by these women, there is no denying the presence of gender inequality in Chilean politics, and that patriarchal systems are alive and well.