Machismo is a prominently exhibited or excessive masculinity. As an attitude, machismo ranges from a personal sense of virility to a more extreme male chauvinism. In machismo there is supreme valuation of characteristics culturally associated with the masculine and a denigration of characteristics associated with the feminine. Its manifestation can include Domestic violence , Misogyny, Sexism , and discrimination in employment. Machismo has been a strong current in Latin American politics and society, though the election of Female Heads of State (in Argentina , Chile and Panama for instance) may be evidence of its decline.
In Spanish and Portuguese machismo refers exclusively to the belief in the superiority of males over females, that is it means “ Sexism ” or “male chauvinism” (along with the Spanish and Portuguese adjective machista, “Sexist” or “male chauvinist”). Machismo comes from the Latin American term for male ‘macho’.
Gender Equality and the Decline of Machismo
Gallup Polls conducted in South America in 2007 have suggested that increased women in the workforce may be changing attitudes towards male and female roles. Data from nine South American countries reveal that on average, a majority of men (69%) and women (84%) agree that it is easier for women than men to juggle work and family demands. Almost identical percentages agree that women should manage the household’s finances. And roughly two in three men (65%) and women (65%) in the nine countries agree that the number of househusbands in their countries has increased.
Although there are considerable gender gaps in employment opportunities and salaries, improving conditions for women is also having an effect on machismo. According to the Gallup poll, employed women who do have jobs are no less likely than employed men in these nine countries to feel positive about their work. On average, 84% of employed men and 85% of employed women say they are satisfied with their jobs, while 85% of men and 88% of women say their jobs give them the opportunity to do what they do best every day. Most importantly, an average of 78% of employed men and 80% of employed women say their opinions count at work.
- Female Heads of State
- Cristina Fernández de Kirchner