The indigenista novel is a realistic novel with a strongly ideological character that was developed primarily in the Andean countries (Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador) during the first half of the 20th century with the purpose of making the reader aware of the living conditions of the indigenous Native American population. The overall aim of this study was to investigate the female characters in five of the works that have had the most influence on the development of the indigenista novel: Aves sin nido (1889) by Clorinda Matto de Turner, Raza de bronce (1918) by Alcides Arguedas, Huasipungo (1934) by Jorge Icaza, El mundo es ancho y ajeno (1941) by Ciro Alegría, and Los ríos profundos (1958) by José María Arguedas. The representations of and the roles played by the female characters in the five novels were systematically studied, individually and in comparison to each other. The purpose was to investigate whether the female characters function primarily as representatives of a certain ideological point of view and, thus, are to be regarded as stereotypes, or if they are complex characters. Moreover, their role in the novels was studied from the perspective of Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of “the destruction of the idyll”. The study found that the female characters play an inconspicuous part in Raza de bronce, Huasipungo and El mundo es ancho y ajeno. Contrastingly, in Aves sin nido and Los ríos profundos, there are several female characters who play a more prominent part. Nevertheless, in all of the works studied, the female characters were found to function more as types than as fully developed characters. A recurring motif in the novels of the study is the subjection of the indigenous female characters to violence or sexual abuse by a white landowner and his henchmen, or by a family member. The analysis found that there is a recurring type of female character in the novels: the female victim. The female victim of the works studied is normally of indigenous origin. The study also found that the indigenous female characters are portrayed differently than other female characters. They are consistently presented as the type of character that this study has termed “idyllic”, the most prominent traits of which are simplicity, naturalness, and the possession of a strong bond to family and home. In contrast, the creole women and mestizas are often part of the modern sphere. The female character of the idyllic type plays a symbolic part in the novels, as the guardian of the survival of the family and the traditional society. When this figure becomes subject to different kinds of abuse, it is not only the individual character who comes under attack but also everything that she symbolizes, which, in the indigenista novel, is contrasted with the modern capitalist society.