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Big Women, Small Girls

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is in two parts. First, by drawing on some of the issues raised by the gender and civil society debate, the chapter examines opportunities within the churches for female participation and association. It highlights some of the internal tensions that limit the establishment of the sisterhood" solidarity posited by Martin's thesis. In the second section, the chapter seeks to explain the prominence of women like Mama Francisca and Mama Christie by examining the nature of their power and authority. The theme of female solidarity recurs in analyses of contemporary women's groups in the new Pentecostal churches of Latin America, upon which Martin draws to make his claim of a women's movement. Another important element of the solidarity theory is the concept of mutual obligation, which some scholars argue is fostered within voluntary associations such as women's church groups.

Keywords: female solidarity; Mama Christie; Mama Francisca; Pentecostal churches



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