University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Article Title

Opposing Systems


Costa Rica and Nicaragua, although situated close together in geography, historically and politically are worlds apart. Costa Rica has maintained a stable democracy since 1948, while Nicaragua, rocked by authoritarian rule and then revolution in 1979, is still in an unstable growth period. Each country represents an opposing government system that would have varying effects on the emphasis and influence placed on different social situations in each country. Through studying one social aspect, the women's movement, one is able to examine the positive and negative aspects of each system and prospects for future success of countries under each type of rule. At the time of revolution in 1948, the Costa Rican government did not put equality of women as one of its main goals, but through time, a consciousness has spread about the need to fight for women's rights. Slowly women have organized to achieve greater equality in many political, economic and social aspects. In Nicaragua, women played an active role in the revolution and one of the objectives of the revolutionary forces, the Sandinistas, was to abolish the discrimination that women have faced for years. Shortly after the revolution, the women's movement was in full force and the effects of this movement are still prevalent throughout the country. In these two neighboring countries, significant advances have been made towards gender equity, but many times these accomplishments are only on the surface and women continue to face discrimination in many private and public social facets.