Bookbeat

Bookbeat: May 2007

The Elves and the ShoemakerLatina Activists Across Borders: Women's Grassroots Organizing in Mexico and Texas

by Milagros Peña,
Department of Sociology and the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research
(Duke University Press, 2007)
Available through Duke University Press

Over the past twenty-five years, nongovernment organizations (NGOs) run by women and devoted to advancing women’s well-being have proliferated in Mexico and along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. In this sociological analysis of grassroots activism, Milagros Peña compares women’s NGOs in two regions—the state of Michoacán in central Mexico and the border region encompassing El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. In both Michoacán and the border region, women have organized to confront a variety of concerns, including domestic violence, the growing number of single women who are heads of households, and exploitive labor conditions. By comparing women’s activism in two distinct areas, Peña illuminates their different motivations, alliances, and organizational strategies in relation to local conditions and national and international activist networks.

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