The impact of the changing weaving industry on the culture and socioeconomic development of maya women in Guatemala

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor's Name

Kathleen Logan

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Madeleine L. Dale

Third Advisor's Name

Elisabeth Prugl

Date of Defense



Growing demand for handwoven Maya textiles from Guatemala parallels recent international fascination with Maya civilization. This thesis surveys the effects of increases in demands for artisan textiles in Guatemala, and explores the reactions of women involved in Aj Quen, a weavers' association. The hypothesis is that the well-being of Maya women depends on their participation in the association. This is tested by using indicators of the weavers' attitudes defined as their "well-being" regarding 1) health, 2) education levels, 3) child care practices, and 4) economic stability. Interviews were conducted with 127 Maya women. Data were documented, providing a crucial missing link in the current literature of "women in Guatemala."

The results of this study yield baseline data demonstrating that health and child care practices are not directly related to women's participation in the association. Their education levels increased as a direct result of working with the association, as did economic stability, although less consistently.



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