“The Politics of Motherhood in Latin America” - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Collaborates with Pro Mujer in Peru

By Julie Kline, Assistant Director of Evaluation and Public Engagement
Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UW-M) collaborated with Pro Mujer in its recent Summer Teacher Institute, “The Politics of Motherhood in Latin America,” which was held on July 11-13th. CLACS, together with its UW-Madison counterpart, is a designated National Resource Center for Foreign Language, Area & International Studies, funded by the U.S. Department of Education Title VI program.  As such, the Center is committed to promoting the study of Latin America to diverse constituencies of faculty, students, K-16 educators, and the community.

Seth Meisel, the Associate Dean  of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education at a third UW campus, UW-Whitewater, led this year’s Institute, which included the participation of 13 K-12 and post-secondary teachers from Wisconsin, Iowa, and Connecticut.

Motherhood is often viewed as a conservative institution in Latin American society with mother’s lives centered on the private world of child rearing and self-sacrifice for their families. This summer’s Institute explored the public dimension of motherhood in Latin America, examining efforts to shape mothers’ lives and demands by mothers to participate as mothers in their nation’s politics and economic development. Some of the topics we discussed included micro-lending programs for women, reproduction and welfare policies, and how indigenous mothers’ handicraft production both challenges and reinforces gender stereotypes.

A highlight of the Institute was having the opportunity to do a live video interview with Naldi Delgado, Pro Mujer’s General Manager for Peru. Ms. Delgado spoke to us about Pro Mujer’s work, which provides financial services, business and empowerment training and health care to women, and concentrated primarily on micro-finance, of particular interest to participants. Participants asked about average loan amounts, types of entrepreneurship, repayment rates, and other financial services available to women in Peru.

After the videoconference, the teachers continued their discussion, and expressed appreciation for the opportunity to learn from a practitioner in the field. It proved to be a highlight of the Institute and our interview with Ms. Delgado greatly enriched our discussions.

Educators participating in this year’s Teacher Summer Institute

Thank you Pro Mujer!