Mainstream studies of Latino politics have tended to reflect a primarily male view of political participation and political leadership. In such a view, the study of Latino political leadership continues the tradition of viewing leadership as derived from official positions in elected or appointed office and informal organizations. This article demonstrates that (1) contrary to prevailing myths, Latina women in Massachusetts run for and are elected to office in very high numbers, and (2) when the definition of political leadership is expanded to include community-based, not solely position-derived, forms of leadership, Latino community empowerment may depend, to a great extent, on the political leadership of Latina women. The author challenges researchers to reexamine the general assumptions and potential gender bias that underlie traditional conceptualizations of political leadership.



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