During the 20th century, not only were many countries of Latin America undergoing stages of political instability with many governments having oppressive military rule, but women specifically were demanding more rights and respect inside and outside of the home. In Chile, women were becoming more assertive throughout this century as to what they wanted out of life, striving against the restrictions put upon them by governments and society.
Maria Antonieta wanted to be President of the Republic when she was a child. However, this was one of her aspirations that didn't seem to be very plausible at the time. Women has just won the right to vote in 1949, and hardly any had been accepted into government offices up until the later 1900's. Most women were expected to have the same dream of getting married by age twenty and raising a large family. This role alone was difficult when the government of Chile during the 1970's posed many hardships after the nationalizing of industries, banks, and mines. Many women had to hoard their goods such as alcohol, cotton, or wool trying to keep the necessities needed for taking care of their families. This angered many women and created many protests between the right and left wing governments. In 1973 Salvador Allende was killed during the coup and General Pinochet took power with help from the U.S. The military captured many remaining leftist supporters, forcing people to flee or disappear. As in many countries with the military taking over, some people were detained or tortured, and some never seen again while leaving their families behind. Doctor Maria Matamala lived through some of this torture. She and a friend returned to the place where men gauged and electrocuted them, remembering all the suffering they had gone through as women of a machismo society. .
Around the 1980's, many women came out of silence and demanded truth and justice for all the events that had happened to them and their families in the past.