Juliet Serenyi Erazo

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Florida International U.

Grant number

Gr. 10072

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Erazo, Juliet (Florida International U.) "Becoming Politicians: Shifting Understandings of Leadership Potential and Indigenous Women's Experiences with Running for Office"

Over the last two decades, there has been a small but important shift in the number of indigenous candidates elected to political office in South America and concurrent legislation requiring that women fill a minimum number of slots on political parties’ candidate slates. In the Ecuadorian Amazon, indigenous women are often more prominent on party slates than mestiza/white women, even though indigenous women have historically faced enormous challenges in being seen as capable leaders, not only by whites and mestizos, but also by indigenous men. It is also surprising given that Amazonian indigenous women have historically feared the shamanic attacks that filling prestigious roles invites, attacks that could endanger their health or that of their families. This research will examine current understandings of leadership within a majority-indigenous area in Ecuador, if and how these notions have shifted over time, and how indigenous women do and do not fit both predominant and emerging understandings of effective leaders. It will also analyze the processes through which indigenous women begin to imagine themselves as having leadership potential, the training they seek before running, and the experiences they have while running for office.