Critical Context

Perón is one of the few female political figures to become a part of popular culture not only in her homeland but also in other Latin American nations, the United States, and Europe. Her life has been the subject of the 1979 Broadway play Evita, by Englishmen Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and a 1981 television film entitled Evita Perón. Young readers can contrast this image in popular culture with the less-romanticized but compelling person who emerges from the pages of Fraser and Navarro’s biography.

Perón’s battles are comparable to the work of women activists such as Emmeline Pankhurst in England and Mother Jones in the United States to achieve recognition and rights for society’s less fortunate. All three women faced barriers of discrimination in their efforts to achieve their goals. Perón was different, however, because she was a lone pioneer in a social and political system where a woman—especially a woman of low social standing—had virtually no accepted role to play.

Perón was not a revolutionary like Vladimir Ilich Lenin or Fidel Castro, but she brought many changes to Argentine society and politics. She seemed to have no consistent ideology, but her strong stand on behalf of the workers and her assertive example as a female leader left a decided impact on Argentina and on Latin America in general. Although her life remains controversial, it is clear that she made significant breakthroughs as a woman in a culture permeated by male dominance.