This book is about the way three decades of social revolution transformed the lives of women in Cuba. It is an examination of one nation's effort to conceptualize, prioritize, and implement sexual equality, and it offers an assessment of the successes, failures, and dilemmas of that process.
As of early 1995, the Cuban revolution was staggering toward a sobtary demise, the island's economy was in ruins, and hunger stalked the land. Individualism and the family had replaced the community and the state as the primary forces in society. Market forces were ever more powerful. The U.S. dollar had become legal currency. It is hard to imagine that only a few years earlier Cuba was the champion of socialism in the Americas, the cynosure of intellectuals worldwide. Cuba was then carrying out one of the greatest social experiments in the history of the Western hemisphere. It was trying to make equality in every sphere the basic operating principle of society; equality among the sexes would resolve "the woman question" once and for all.
The Cuban revolution entered the world arena in 1959 when a small group of guerrillas and urban insurrectionists overthrew the dictatorship of General Fulgencio Batista. Thereafter a series of economic and social reforms were launched which indicated that the goal of the revolution was nothing less than the creation of a new social order. The main engine of this transformation was to be the state under the firm and charismatic command of its guerrilla hero, Fidel Castro. In 1961 Castro announced what was already clear: this was a socialist revolution. Within a very few