Book Talk: Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories By Hilary Klein

May 6, 2015
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Sociology Lounge, the Graduate Center, CUNY.

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Compañeras is the untold story of women’s involvement in the Zapatista movement. In 1994, the Zapatista movement captured the world’s attention with its brief armed uprising, demanding political, economic, and social equality for the rural population of Chiapas, Mexico. Since then, this indigenous rebellion has inspired grassroots activists around the world.

Prior to 1994, the indigenous women of Chiapas were often forced into arranged marriages and confined to the private sphere; they had little access to birth control, and domestic violence was widespread. But gender roles were radically redefined in the context of the Zapatista movement, as women became guerrilla insurgents and political leaders, healers and educators, and members of economic cooperatives. Gathered here are the stories of grandmothers, mothers, and daughters who worked collectively to construct a new society of dignity and justice. Zapatista women have played a key role not only in creating and maintaining indigenous autonomy, but also in making great strides towards the liberation and equality of indigenous women.


HILARY KLEIN spent six years in Chiapas, Mexico, working with women’s projects in Zapatista communities. After she compiled a book of Zapatista women’s testimony to be circulated in their own villages, women in the Zapatista leadership suggested that Hilary compile a similar book for an outside audience.

Hilary has been engaged in social justice and community organizing for twenty years. After spending five years at Make the Road New York, a membership organization that builds the power of immigrant and working-class communities, she will join the Center for Popular Democracy this May. She is originally from Washington, DC, and received her BA in Political Science from UC Berkeley.



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