Dr. Annie Dandavati, professor of political science and director of women's studies at Hope College, spoke at an international conference focusing on "Gender Dynamics and International Regimes," in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday-Monday, Feb. 20-22. The title of her talk was "Gender, the State and Empowerment: Reflections from Latin America."
Dandavati asserts that while civil society has made gains in achieving women's empowerment, women's organizations must consistently pressure the State to create and maintain institutions and processes that are gender-responsive. Using Chile as a case study, she contends that both civil society from the bottom-up and international regimes from top-down must compel the State to establish not only a political discourse that is amenable to gender but must also hold the State accountable to adopt policies that help to create "substantive" democracies in Latin America. Dandavati's invitation to the conference developed through contacts she made while serving as a visiting professor at Meiji Gakuin University during the fall semester. Hope and Meiji Gakuin have maintained ties since the 1960s, beginning with student exchanges and since 1994 including faculty exchanges.