Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Kenneth Erickson

Subject Categories

Economics | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | International Relations | Latin American Studies | Peace and Conflict Studies | Policy History, Theory, and Methods | Politics and Social Change | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Regional Sociology | Rural Sociology | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | Social Welfare | Sociology of Religion | Theory and Philosophy


El Salvador, Women, FMLN, Civil War, Gender Inequality, Revolution


Over the course of a century, revolutionary movements have emerged every few years across the region of Central America, movements that fought for overturning dictatorships and confronting socio-economic inequalities. Women experience higher levels of poverty, human rights violations and discrimination due to gender inequalities. Representing 30% of the FMLN guerrilla army, women in El Salvador took a quantum leap into one of the most horrific and violent armed conflicts in the history of the country (Montgomery 123). Theorists have sought to explain why women became involved in the war. Experts of insurgent collective action agree that women's participation played a significant role in the revolutionary movement. Women served as party leaders, guerrilla fighters, doctors, radio respondents and care takers (Viterna 58). However, most theories also differ as to the motivations behind their participation. The following thesis will examine the political and socio-economic roots and movements responsible for creating a peasant uprising and forming the FMLN, particularly how women of El Salvador formed a revolutionary movement in a patriarchic country controlled by an anti-democratic, military regime. The following pages will examine how and why they became involved and the impact their participation had on civil society post-war.