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Becoming Red Thread Women: Alternative Visions of Gendered Politics in Post-independence Guyana

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This essay argues that the rise of Guyana's Red Thread Women's Development Organisation in the mid-1980s was precipitated by the establishment of a hegemonic political culture through the regime of President Forbes Burnham. Utilizing both Aldon Morris's (1992, 2001) notion of 'opppositional consciousness' and Raka Ray's (1999) typology of 'political fields' the author finds that the founding members of Red Thread were engaged in a struggle to redefine the political culture in Guyana. Through its mobilization of women across the divides of race/ethnicity, class, religion, and geography, Red Thread was a key site for rethinking the nature of the political structure for women's politics and women's empowerment. The essay places the emergence of Red Thread within a critical review of Guyanese women's mobilization and organization in trade union movements and women's auxiliaries to established political parties through the Colonial and post-Colonial eras.
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Keywords: Afro-Caribbean women; East Indian women - Caribbean; Guyana politics; Women's activism/movements; grassroots women - Caribbean; middle-class women - Caribbean

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Women and Gender Studies, University of California, USA

Publication date: 01 May 2007

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