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Women and the State in Post-Sandinista Nicaragua

Cynthia Chavez Metoyer
ISBN: 978-1-55587-751-4
1999/154 pages/LC: 99-34284
Women and Change in the Developing World

"Metoyer's book makes an important contribution to understanding the gendered effects of structural adjustment and neoliberal policies.... it marks an important step in the analysis of the relationship between women's movements and states."—Patricia Richards, Latin American Politics and Society

"This is a highly readable text, into which women's stories and occasional pictures have been woven throughout.... Recommended for all university libraries."—Choice

"Nicaragua specialists and students of revolution will benefit from this opportunity to contemplate the gender blindness that was a major flaw in the Sandinista project.... Chavez Metoyer's case study also provides important support for the argument that structural adjustment programs hide a gender bias."—Richard Stahler-Sholk, American Political Science Review


After winning a stunning and decisive victory in Nicaragua’s 1990 presidential election, Violeta Chamorro reversed much of the social and economic policy enacted by the previous Sandinista government. Cynthia Chavez Metoyer explores state-society relationships during the Chamorro administration, focusing on the effect that the postsocialist, neoliberal state has had on women.

Metoyer first analyzes women’s social gains and losses during the Sandinista era. She then turns to the impact of Chamorro’s structural adjustment programs. Considering the position of women in post-Sandinista society, she provides a nuanced discussion of Nicaragua’s economic and social reality, as well as a rethinking of the ideology that underlies much development policy.


Cynthia Chavez Metoyer is professor of political science at California State University, San Marcos.


  • Introduction.
  • The Party’s Over—And the Kitchen’s a Mess.
  • The Empress Has No Cothes.
  • Once Upon A Time: A Tale of Structural Adjustment.
  • Invisible Adjustment?
  • The Politics of the Possible.
  • The Sandinistas Aren't the Only Ones Who Lost.