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Chiapas, Community Autonomy, Conditional Cash Transfers, Gender Equality, Indigenous Mayan Communities, Mexico, Racial Hierarchy, Autonomie Communautaire, Communautés Mayas Autochtones, Égalité Sexuelle, Hiérarchie Raciale, Mexique, Transferts D’argent Conditionnel, Comunidad Autonomía, Equidad De Género, Indígenas Comunidades Mayas, Jerarquía Racial, México, Transferencias Monetarias Condicionadas


This article examines the gender equality component of Prospera, a conditional cash transfer program in Mexico that provides cash contingent on three nodes of civic engagement: health, nutrition and education. This article draws on ethnographic research in La Gloria, a settlement of indigenous Mayan refugees from Guatemala in the Mexican state of Chiapas. I identify the Prospera program’s neoliberal features, the impact its gender equality measures have in the lives of women, their families, and in the political structure of the community of La Gloria. My findings reveal how Prosperareinforces gender and racial hierarchy, fosters community divisions that undercuts efforts to promote community autonomy, which raises questions about the ability of conditional cash transfers to promote development and gender equality in indigenous communities in Mexico.


Awarded the Social Sciences Article Prize by the Latin American Studies Association Mexico Section.

Publisher Attribution

The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Current Sociology, 63/3 (2015) published by SAGE Publishing, All rights reserved.

This is the accepted manuscript version of: Gil-García, &. (2016). Gender equality, community divisions, and autonomy: The Prospera conditional cash transfer program in Chiapas, Mexico. Current Sociology, 64(3), 447-469. doi: 10.1177/0011392115593785