All in The Family

The images still stir the spirit: multitudes, swathed in yellow, sweeping Corazon Aquino to power in the Philippines; Benazir Bhutto campaigning atop truck caravans in Pakistan; Violeta Chamorro, in a wheelchair, toppling Nicaragua's haughty Sandinista regime. In the past decade, no man has come to power as dramatically and as spectacularly as these women. For feminists everywhere, the rise of Aquino, Bhutto and Chamorro seemed to augur huge steps forward for societies usually characterized by unrelenting machismo. The images, however, were misleading.

Behind each woman in power was a powerful man or an influential political dynasty. In their election campaigns, Aquino...

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