Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Latin American and Caribbean Studies

First Advisor

Teresa Meade




argentina, chile, disappeared, mothers, women


This project is a comparative case study between the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina who formed during the dictatorship of the military junta from 1976 to 1983 and the groups of women that formed organizations in Chile under Pinochet beginning in 1973. The thesis looks at the roles of specific institutions, such as their respective governments, the United States and the Catholic Church and how they differed in each country. The thesis not only examines the institutional influences on the movements but also how both of their coalitions’ outcomes were influenced by historical factors. At first glance, the obvious answer as to why the Mothers of Argentina are better known than the women of the disappeared in Chile is the statistical fact that more people were disappeared in Argentina over a shorter period of time. Estimates state that as many as 30,000 people disappeared over 7 years in Argentina while an estimated 3,000 disappeared over 17 years in Chile. Also, the Catholic Church in Argentina supported the military junta so the Mothers were forced to look elsewhere, including making a famous trip to Italy to meet with the Pope; while the Catholic Church helped the women in Chile, which meant that they did not take the same measures the Mothers did to gain international attention. The role of the United States in both coups and dictatorships was similar because it began as an obstacle working against both movements of women. In Argentina, however, it began to play a more proactive role with the presidency of Jimmy Carter. Other factors addressed in this study include Argentina hosting the World Cup in 1978, benefit concerts led by Amnesty International, an analysis of the targeted individuals who were disappeared, the changes in the constitutions, and many other factors such as feminism and the role of motherhood. All of these factors come together to determine how certain institutions effected each movement and explain why the Mothers in Argentina have had greater recognition in their cause than the women in Chile.