Women's mobilization in Chile and Turkey tary regimes that temporarily closed the political arena and banned political party activity. This created a space for women to come together as women, without having their interests subordinated to struggles based on class or ethnicity.
However, the two cases differ. The type of state each movement encountered, as well as their particular relationship with the state, has shaped these differences. In the Chilean case, although some women's groups supported the military regime, most opposed it. However, once democracy returned, the state was no longer seen as an 'enemy'. The democratic opposition, which had been supported by the most visible parts of the movement, became the government in 1990. The state was no longer seen as a threat to the women's movement, but as an ally. This led to the incorporation of the movement into the state. In contrast, the movement's relationship with the Turkish state has been more complex. Given the history of 'state feminism', women's groups have tried to keep their distance from the state. The movement has become institutionalized in recent years, but largely outside formal state structures.
Also, in both cases, the nature of the state has affected divisions within the movements. In Turkey, the modernizing projects of the nationalist and secularist state have made ethnic and religious identity the main dividing axes within the movement. In Chile, women are confronted with a state committed to modernization based on neo-liberal principles. This exacerbates the tensions and divisions between those parts of the movement that work within the state and benefit from globalization, and those (rural, indigenous and working-class) women whose lives are negatively affected by neo-liberal social and economic policies. In both cases, neo-liberal restructuring projects have inspired state programmes aiming to further incorporate women into labour markets, programmes that often claim to be empowering. Both cases illustrate, however, that the states' goals in this respect are often aimed more at improving its global competitive position (by relying on low-wage and flexible female labour) than at empowering women as a group by challenging gender hierarchies.
However, the existence of institutionalization, division and even fragmentation does not mean that women's movements have ceased to exist in Chile and Turkey. In both cases the need to confront and address the differences among women is recognized and is being debated within the different segments comprising the movements. Thus, many women recognize the problems inherent in seeking 'women's' empowerment, without taking into account the different ways in which women experience gender subordination. The nature in which these issues are resolved is likely to determine the future shape and strength of these movements in promoting not only women's empowerment, but also class, religious and ethnic equality.
The authors wish to thank Rianne Mahon, Jill Vickers, Antonio Franceschet, Veysi T. Kondu, Kathy Staudt and Jane Parpart for their very helpful comments.