Day 12. Stories of Women*: Biografías politizadas y la porfía del sur feminista 

[ES]

Tengo presente en mi memoria, desde muy pequeña, haber presenciado, pero también vivenciado desigualdades y violencia de género. Fui criada principalmente por mi madre, siempre con el apoyo solidario de otras mujeres, mi abuela materna a quién nombro hasta el día de hoy “mami” y mi madrina, ambas mujeres de la costa centro sur de la región del Biobío, la maravillosa comuna de Tomé.  

La experiencia de la maternidad para ella nunca fue una tarea sencilla, tuvo que migrar desde la región del Biobío a Santiago, para incorporarse a la fuerza laboral y desempeñarse como trabajadora de casa particular puertas adentro, comúnmente conocido en Chile como “nana”. Vivimos procesos de cambios importantes en ese periodo, nuestra genealogía deriva de cirulos de pobreza y limitadas condiciones para culminar la educación formal, a ello sumado la dificultosa posibilidad de ser mujer trabajadora y madre, más aún en pleno proceso de transición democrática de los 90. En ese momento, la única opción que mi madre creyó viable para nuestro “buen vivir” fue matricularme en el internado de la Escuela Nº 328 de niñas y niños, perteneciente al Hogar Español, ubicado en la comuna de Las Condes, muy cercano a su lugar de trabajo.  

Desde los 6 años estuve interna de domingo a viernes, compartía con otras niñas y adolecentes de distintas regiones, comunas de Santiago, inclusive de otros países -recuerdo una amiga del internado que llego de Nicaragua producto de la represión y violencia política de su país- que se encontraban en situaciones similares. Éramos más 100 mujeres con historias entretejidas por la pobreza, la violencia, el no reconocimiento de nuestros padres o la ausencia radical de estos. Si bien yo estaba reconocida por el mío, el ejercicio pasivo de la paternidad y muchas veces su ausencia en mi proceso de desarrollo, no favoreció que esta realidad fuera distinta.  

La experiencia en ese lugar tuvo de dulce y agraz. Lo significativo fue encontrarme con niñas de distintas latitudes y saber que no era la única en la misma situación, además compartir experiencias siempre fue muy enriquecedor. Asimismo, contábamos con las necesidades elementales cubiertas: alimentación, refugio, educación, salud y entretención. No obstante, me llamaba poderosamente la atención la imposición del catolicismo, disponer de una sala de muñecas, con coches, cocinas, enseres del hogar como escobas, platos, carros de supermercado, y otra sala de televisión solo con películas Disney como La Cenicienta, La Bella y La Bestia, La Sirenita, Blancanieves y Los Siete Enanos; todas reproducen un estereotipo de mujer rescatada por un “hombre que resulta ser el amor verdadero y para toda su vida”. En consecuencia, las normas establecidas por nuestras cuidadoras “Madres de los Desamparados y San José de la Montaña”, consistían en negarnos la posibilidad de usar faldas cortas y trepar árboles, usar maquillaje y estaba tajantemente prohibido las relaciones amorosas heterosexuales y mucho más las lésbicas.  

Lo que no supieron y/o quisieron prever en el internado fue nuestras biografías cruzadas por contextos de vulnerabilidad, algunas arrastrábamos dolores profundos, silenciosos y muchas veces traumáticos.  

Mi experiencia da cuenta de una situación de abuso sexual a los 5 años, por un integrante varón de mi familia, que me ocasionó un daño irreparable que nunca pude verbalizar -hasta hace 3 años atrás-. Luego, a los 8 años fui abusada nuevamente, en el espacio que se constituía como mi segundo hogar, el internado. Cuando comencé a crecer y me cambiaron de colegio, emprendí el desarrollo de mi autonomía desplazándome sola por la ciudad, presencié el peligro en ella con el acoso sexual callejero, los agarrones en la vía pública y roces intencionados en la locomoción colectiva, la inseguridad que me provocaba caminar sola por lugares oscuros. Pero también tuve la protección y defensa irrefutable de mi madre cuando estaba presente.  

En definitiva, solo por ser mujer tuve que asumir determinadas conductas, roles y expectativas que el mandato cultural depositaba en mí, pero que también permeaba mis relaciones familiares, de pareja y/o con mis pares. Al ser objeto de la violencia sexual, tempranamente me percaté que las desigualdades culminan en expresiones concreta, que transcienden la experiencia individual y el ámbito privado, y cuando lo devaluado es lo femenino siempre puede seguir afectando a otras. Inclusive cuando colectivizamos ese ejercicio de agudizar la mirada respecto de las opresiones y dominaciones que vivimos, tomar consciencia y compartirlo por medio de la conversación con otras mujeres, puede ser dolorosamente revelador, pero también puede constituirse en nuestra principal arma de lucha, para desnaturalizar que lo común no debía ser las historias de violencia que arrastramos en distintas etapas de nuestras vidas, sino más bien el deseo por derribar el orden que las reproduce.  

Cuando utilizo el habla como herramienta de comprensión del mundo subjetivo con mi madre, tías, amigas, mujeres con las que trabajo, compañeras de militancia feminista y política, aparece alguna expresión de la violencia patriarcal en sus biografías, en el tipo de educación que hemos recibido, en la forma que nos hemos incorporado al mundo del trabajo y la cada vez más precarización del mismo, en la desigualdad salarial, en los accesos a los determinados servicios por pertenecer a un contexto territorial más empobrecido, en el ejercicio muchas veces solitario de la crianza. 

Por eso estoy convencida del valor emancipatorio que representa politizar las biografías, tomar consciencia del potencial transformador del feminismo para las mujeres y las mayorías sociales, así como reconocer el valor de las estrategias plurales que convergen en una lucha común: liberarnos de las opresiones y dominaciones que el capitalismo y el patriarcado refuerzan sistemáticamente en nosotras.  

Las mujeres que vivimos en Chile, como en otros territorios del sur y en el resto del mundo, nos encontramos en un proceso clave de transformación social. El cariz de las demandas que hoy impulsamos en cada territorio deriva de un proceso de acumulación histórica que mujeres y feministas antecedieron, apunta precisamente a evidenciar la crisis del modelo capitalista que está llevando al limite la explotación humana y el planeta que habitamos.  

Lo anterior, producto de la depredación de los recursos naturales por empresas capitalistas transnacionales que despojan del buen vivir a miles de comunidades indígenas y generando zonas de sacrificio, asimismo ocurre con la mercantilización de los derechos sociales, la privatización de la tierra y el agua que culmina anulando el goce de la existencia y precarizando aún más la vida de las personas. Pero también, establece nuevas formas de dominación y exclusión instalando un nuevo germen fascista, la pandemia femicida como expresión radical de la violencia de género y los cada vez más presentes desplazamientos masivos por la legitima búsqueda de nuevos asentamientos. 

Es indiscutible que la articulación e incidencia política del feminismo en Chile busca revolucionar todos espacios, y en lo personal, me ha posibilitado contribuir en la reconstrucción de ese nuevo tejido social que parece cobrar cada vez mayor sentido y fuerza. Los procesos en curso de transformación cultural en las universidades por las denuncias de violencia, acoso y abuso sexual, la lucha por el aborto libre, legal, seguro y gratuito, los preencuentros hacia la Huelga General de Mujeres el 8 de Marzo próximo, la campaña nacional 19 de Diciembre Día Nacional Contra el Femicidio, las luchas antirracistas y contra el extractivismo, las reflexiones políticas y movilizaciones masivas de mujeres y disidencia sexual, como de la clase trabajadora en su conjunto, se desprenden de biografías politizadas que buscan mejorar las condiciones de vida de las mayorías sociales, erradicando la explotación capitalista y patriarcal. Sin permiso y con la porfía característica de los feminismos del sur.  

Cinthya Jara Riquelme, Trabajadora Social Feminista –Juventud Socialista de Chile

[EN] 

Politicised biographies and the obstinacy of the feminists from the south 

 I keep in mind, from a very young age, having witnessed, but also experienced, inequalities and gender violence. I was raised mainly by my mother, always with the support of other women: my maternal grandmother whom I name to this day “mommy” and my godmother, both women of the south-central coast of Biobio region, the wonderful commune of Tomé.

The experience of motherhood for her was never an easy task, she had to migrate from the Biobío region to Santiago, to join the work force and to work as a private home worker, commonly known in Chile as “nana”. We lived through processes of major changes in that period. Our genealogy derives from poverty cycles and limited conditions to complete formal education, coupled with the difficult possibility of being a worker and mother. This was even more apparent in the process of democratic transition of the 90s. At that time, the only option that my mother believed was viable for our “good living” was enrolling me in the boarding school of the School No. 328 of children, belonging to the Hogar Español. It was located in the county of Las Condes, very close to her workplace.

From 6 years old I was at the boarding school from Sunday to Friday. I shared a room with other girls and adolescents from different regions and counties of Santiago, and also from other countries. I remember a friend of the boarding school that came from Nicaragua as a result of the repression and political violence of her country, who were in a similar situation. We were more than 100 women with histories woven together by poverty, violence, the non-recognition of our parents or the radical absence of these. Although I was recognised by mine, the passive exercise of paternity and many times its absence in my development process, did not make my reality different. 

The experience in that place was both sweet and bitter. The significant thing for me was meeting with girls from different places and knowing that I was not the only one in the same situation. The sharing experiences was always very enriching. Likewise, we had basic needs covered: food, shelter, education, health and entertainment. However, the imposition of Catholicism attracted my attention, having a doll room, with cars, kitchens, household items such as brooms, plates, supermarket trolleys, and another TV room with only Disney movies such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Snow White and The Seven Dwarves; that all reproduce a stereotype of a woman rescued by a “man who turns out to be true love and for his whole life”. Accordingly, the rules established by our caretakers “Madres de los Desamparados y San José de la Montaña”, consisted in denying us the possibility of wearing short skirts and climbing trees, wearing makeup and we were strictly forbidden in having heterosexual love relationships and even more so lesbian relationships. 

What they did not know and/or wanted to see at the boarding school was our biographies crossed by contexts of vulnerability, some of us kept deep, silent and often traumatic pains. 

My experience includes a situation of sexual abuse at age 5, by a male member of my family, which caused me irreparable damage that I was never able to verbalise until 3 years ago. Then, at age 8 I was abused again, at the place that was considered as my second home, the boarding school. When I began to grow and I changed school, I undertook the development of my autonomy by traveling alone through the city; I witnessed the danger in it with street sexual harassment, the clutches on the street and intentional friction in the collective locomotion, the insecurity that was created when I would walk alone in dark places. But I also had the protection and irrefutable defence of my mother when she was present. 

In short, just because I was a woman, I had to assume certain behaviours, roles and expectations that the cultural mandate ascribed to me, but that also seeped into my family relationships, as a couple and / or with my peers. Being the object of sexual violence, I realised early on that inequalities culminate in concrete expressions that transcend individual experience and the private sphere, and when what is devalued is feminine, it can always continue affecting others. Even when we collectivise this exercise of perfecting the view of the oppressions and dominations that we live through, becoming aware and sharing our experiences through conversation with other women, can be painfully revealing, but it can also become our main weapon of struggle. A commitment to changing that the everyday stories should not be the stories of violence that we have gained in different stages of our lives. We need to be dedicated to the desire to tear down the order and system that reproduces them. 

When I use speech as a tool for understanding the subjective world with my mother, aunts, friends, women I work with, companions of feminist and political militancy, some expression of patriarchal violence appears in their biographies. For example inn the type of education we have received, in the form that we have incorporated into the world of work and the increasingly precariousness of it, in the wage inequality, in the access to certain services for belonging to a more impoverished territorial context, in the often solitary exercise of the upbringing. 

That is why I am convinced of the emancipatory value of politicising biographies, becoming aware of the transforming potential of feminism for women and social majorities. As well as recognising the value of plural strategies that converge in a common struggle: freedom from oppression and domination that capitalism and patriarchy reinforce systematically in us. 

The women who live in Chile, as in other territories of the South and in the rest of the world, are in a key process of social transformation. The expression of the demands that we promote today in each territory derives from a process of historical accumulation that women and feminists preceded. It aims precisely to highlight the crisis of the capitalist model that has taken the human exploitation and the planet that we inhabit to the limit. 

This is the result of the depredation of natural resources by transnational capitalist companies that deprive thousands of indigenous communities of good living.  It creates zones of sacrifice, as well as the commercialisation of social rights, the privatisation of land and water. It culminates in ending the enjoyment of existence and makes the lives of people even more precarious. But it also establishes new forms of domination and exclusion by introducing a new fascist seed, the femicide pandemic as a radical expression of gender violence. It also increases the mass displacements by people going through a legitimate search for new settlements. 

 It is indisputable that the articulation and political influence of feminism in Chile seeks to revolutionise all spaces. For me personally, it has made it possible to contribute to the reconstruction of this new social fabric that seems to take on ever-greater meaning and strength. The on-going processes of cultural transformation in the universities emerge from politicised biographies that seek to improve the conditions of life of the social majorities, eradicating capitalist and patriarchal exploitation. The fights include the denunciation of: violence, harassment and sexual abuse, the fight for legal, safe and free abortion, the pre-encounters towards the General Women’s Strike on March 8, the national campaign on December 19: National Day Against Femicide, anti-racist struggles and against extractivism, political reflections and mass mobilisations of women and sexual dissidence, as well as of the working class as a whole., The defining characteristics of the feminism of the south is not asking for permission and being obstinate. 

Cinthya Jara Riquelme, Feminist Social Worker – Socialist Youth of Chile

 

Day 11. Stories of Women*: Untitled

When I was physically assaulted for the first time, I was not aware that I was the victim of an attack so I forgave him. I thought maybe it was an isolated incident. However, that happened again, again, and again.  Why did I suffer and remain silent? I do not know. Soon, also verbal attacks began. Although, I believe they probably happened earlier and that I did not notice them because I was so in love.  

The combination of physical and psychological attacks affected me deeply. One of the worst attacks – at the time. We were at a celebration. Of course, we had some drinks. I just wanted to go home while he wanted to stay and his needs were more important than mine. I started to leave to go home. He did not let me go. He started to assault me. I was running, but he caught me and threw me on the asphalt. He ordered me to give him the keys of the car. I gave them to  him, I was afraid. He continued to insult me ​​and threw away the keys and left me to look for them and bring them back to him. When he threw them away a final time, I could not find them anymore. He blamed me for losing them and I had to look until I found them. My only happiness on that night was that he hurt his ankle and I managed to escape.  

The next day I forgave him. I just couldn’t leave him. Likewise, his abuse could not be stopped –  when he was drunk. Every time he drank alcohol he became a terrible person. Our agreements were no longer valid. He said that it is my fault for everything bad that happened, because I did not know how to behave. One day we had decided to have a celebration – just him and I. I was waiting and he came. But  he was drunk. I sadly asked him why are you drunk? Because of that question he  dragged me out of the car and started to hit me. I forgave him.  

After a while, he was drunk again. We were at my place. He wanted me to bring him everything he decided he wanted, which I did not want to do. Then he started explaining to me how much he had done for me, and that I did not do anything for him. I asked him to leave and he even started to go. But when I got down he started to hit me. He was saying everything bad to me. He did not go home. I cried a lot. I forgave him. 

For some time he was calm and good to me. We went to another celebration. A lot of my friends were there that I had not seen for a long time, and I greeted them happily. He did not say anything. Until he drank a little more. He hit me wherever he could. He threw me. Probably he would not stop if he hadn’t hit my head so strongly. He was afraid that he had killed me. The next day I could not walk. At that point I decided I did not want to forgive him anymore. He cried, telling me that he was sorry. When I forgave him he  put all the blame on me. After a short time, he hit me again. That day I hardly ran away from him.  

Then I decided it must be over no matter how much I love him. I decided to report him to the authorities. I did not get any result – he did not receive any punishment because we were nobody and nothing in front of the law, we were not married.  

But I found my peace. I got rid of the big cargo. And that is very important. Finally, I live a happy life without fear that somebody will hit me ​​because of some of my movements or behaviour. Today I am a happy woman, but back then I was only 23 years old. 

 

Day 10. Stories of Women*: The “F” Word

The “F” Word

I have never thought that feminism is something I would have to justify myself. The facts that I am a white woman, who comes from a part of the world where there is no war, where religion is a matter of choice, that I grew up in a middle-class family, that I have an access to healthcare, education and travel abroad, make me a woman with privileges. Those privileges give me freedom to choose my partners and friends by myself. At the age of 24, I have already created a circle of friends who I share the same perception of values and moral with, so I was really struck when a very good friend of mine texted me that on Milunka[1]’s Instagram it was written that she “helped girls and young women to fight against gender-based prejudice while achieving their dreams”, whereas in the description of the blog it said “Women’s rights and feminism”. Thus, he carefully drew attention that he believed “feminism” was a mistake, and if not so, why it was there.

I replied to the friend that feminism meant exactly what he opposed to, so I concluded that issue was not for an Instagram chat and that we would discuss it face to face. The awareness that he himself was a women’s rights activist upset me. As an athlete, he opposes to the imposed female beauty ideal, and encourages me in all my fights and efforts. All his attitudes and acts make him a feminist, but the knowledge that he would never call himself a feminist made me sad, if not annoyed. At that moment, I could not even guess that his comment, as a comment of a person who I found a friend and whose opinion I cared about, would cause me to remember all the complaints, disapprovals and nasty comments I received when declaring myself a feminist. Nor that it would open Pandora’s box of searching for an answer to the question why some people label feminism as something negative.

Despite being afraid of the results, I made a small Instagram questionnaire during the following days, having in mind that my Instagram consisted mostly of people who shared the core values with me. Yet, I had reasons to be afraid: even three of the people I liked said they did not regard themselves as feminists. All of them who had answered in a negative way were asked for explanations.

It was explained that: feminists were aggressive, that they wanted to be equal, but not on equal terms, that feminism had been invented by fat women and lesbians, that women already constituted the majority at the most important positions in the world (Ms Merkel, Ms Clinton), that feminism meant being on guard and aggressive, that feminism was an ideology, and that all ideologies were dangerous. One libertarian told me that he was not a feminist because feminism implied the equality of outcomes rather than chances. This only shows sectarianism in his ideological position and a huge ignorance about feminism. Certainly, it is not important for “an ordinary person”. The most frequent answer why one did not declare himself or herself as a feminist was that women and men would never be equal, since men were stronger.

Accordingly, feminists are lesbians and ugly, fat, short haired women who do not put on make-up and do not remove their armpit hair. Feminists do not have sexual intercourse, they are frustrated, dissatisfied with their own, and they hate the whole world, men in particular. Feminism is something that strives to make men and women equal, even though they could not be the same physically, otherwise why do you not split wood, open doors and carry your luggage up the stairs on your own?

What is feminism actually?
Although my understanding of feminism has been mainly influenced by my direct experience, when speaking about feminism, I always rely on what I learned during the formal education. A unique definition of feminism does not exist. It is defined differently by different people based on ideological standpoints, beliefs and attitudes. Generally speaking, we can say that, during the history, feminism was regarded as a social movement, a theory, an ideology and a personal view. What links these four perspectives is an insight and attitude that women have been subordinate and discriminated against in all places and historical periods, having in mind that degrees and manners of discrimination, as well as the understanding of oppression over women, are interpreted in different ways. The other pole of this joint insight and attitude is that subordination and discrimination are not “naturally” defined, so the subordinate role of women can be changed.

Simone de Beauvoir, one of the most significant 20th century philosophers, drew three conclusions:

  1. There is a distinction between men and women that cannot be overcome. That is the biological or sex distinction. Due to that, I did not split wood for the winter. That distinction is the basis of every comparison, evaluation and analysis of the power ratio hierarchy.
  2. Sex characteristic – the female has been given some characteristics by history, tradition and civilisation, which we call “the gender frame”. The woman wears skirts, has long hair, wears pink, washes the dishes and vacuums… and there we reach some more serious attitudes and conclusions about what the “female” is able and allowed to do. Remember that before the mid-20th century, and based on sex characteristics (because she was not as clever as the man), people had believed that the woman could not vote, get an education, have her own property, make decisions about her body, decide if she would have sexual intercourse or not…
  3. The system of values, which ascribes different characteristics to differences between the sexes, so that male and female beings (sex) become men and women (gender), is called patriarchy. That is the world, which have been created according to the male model, where everything “female” is less strong. That inequality of physical strength has been a good reason to declare the woman and everything related to her as less worth than the stronger man.

Well, for example, have you ever wondered in what way the society evaluates maternity? It is only this year that serious campaigns were launched to make breastfeeding legal in public places (bear in mind that legally accepted does not mean socially accepted). Do you think that the world which allows female breasts on billboards for underwear, but not as a maternity feature, has been made in such way that the woman feels as much worth as the man? Breasts in a sexy bra are a socially constructed image that shows what is aesthetically acceptable and sexually arousing, whereas breasts feeding a newborn is rude in public places.

These conclusions were revealed by Simone de Beauvoir in her famous book The Other Sex, where the most significant moment is her sentence that “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”. In some way, it implies the previous conclusions and states that the society makes a female being become a woman, by giving her different roles which some play well. Whereas, some disappoint the expectations and then face condemnation by the public due to that they are about to get divorced or has no interest in getting married. That means women do not fight against men, but patriarchy. The world that often (but not always) forces them to be what they are not. Women are not lonely in that fight, since there are also men who do not find themselves in such a patriarchal world, which expects them to be heterosexual breadwinners and super strong fellows.

Feminism and I
As I have already mentioned that a unique definition of feminism does not exist, it is the half-done definition that leaves enough space for us to choose whichever position: liberal, radical, traditional… Unlike other identities, such as religious and national, feminism avoids the trap of limiting the scope of its own definition. Due to the feminism as such, I have become upset by the fact that people reject it and take it for granted. Imagine that I said I were not a human being, because I knew that some people were murders and rapists.

It is hard to explain to a contemporary person to what extent feminism has impacted the life of a contemporary woman. Five things are worth mentioning: the right to vote, labour, education, abortion and divorce.

In the 21st century, the western civilisation has been hard to convince and we have had to prove that we are as good as men. At the beginning of the 20th century Virginia Woolf was only allowed to enter the library if accompanied by a man, but Ms Woolf was a white Englishwoman from a wealthy family. A hundred years later, on 9th October 2012, one girl was shot in her head because she went to school. She is a brown Pakistani girl from a none-wealthy family. Nowadays, I can tell my boyfriend I am not in the mood for sex, but a female peer of mine in the United Arab Emirates must not and cannot do that. Nowadays, I can meet my father with one and each subsequent boyfriend, but a female peer of mine from the village I came from, must not do that, so she hides having a boyfriend. There are some women from my village who have visited a gynaecologist only once, and that was when they gave birth to their children.

Ideological conformism and privileges we are not aware of allow us to label people, ideas and phenomena around us easily. I am not saying that I have beaten the system, but rather that I might have had luck to grow up in a mixture of the rural and the urban. This due to that my parents offered me an opportunity to educate myself, while at the same time I continued being a peasant woman from a village in Macva and actively participating in the lives of my peasant men and women. In that way, I had a different approach towards the creation of my personality and its central part, and that has always been the fight for women’s rights – that has been feminism.

At first it was a feeling that something was wrong. I was the only girl in the village to accompany her father to the mill in order to deliver grain during the harvest. Then my feminism became an idea, which I decomposed through the theory and which now I spread further through activism. Nowadays, my feminism means directing attention to the issues, which particularly girls and women face. Feminism shows my efforts and the efforts of other individuals and groups to create and achieve better and more equal conditions for women and girls worldwide.

Writing about a girl who did sport appropriated by men, since the body of a female canoeist falls out of the social construct defining which female body is beautiful and desirable, for me, is feminism at its finest. It is also feminism when I put on a shirt, a skirt and a lipstick before going to a serious lesson or meeting.

That is the victory over my fear that I would be more seriously understood if I wore black trousers and a black jacket that is my small victory over patriarchy. Feminism is my grandmother Rosa and my great-grandmother Zagorka. Feminism is my mom who beat cancer. Feminism is my elder brother who always took me out with him and his friends.

Feminism and you
Feminism is not aggressive. What is aggressive is the frames, which shape the way people think, so they make conclusions on the basis of an individual experience or with a lack of information. What is aggressive is ignorance, which leaves no space for solidarity. Thus, whether I am a feminist or a great-great-great-granddaughter of a witch, whom they did not manage to burn, depends on the way of thinking, the wish to acquire new knowledge, to broaden the perspectives, to be empathic, supportive and wealthy of new experience. What is so wonderful about feminism is our choice to be what we really are and what we want to be.

And if I have to continue justifying myself, I will, not in order to prove that I am right, but to show you how wrong you are when, let me paraphrase J. B. Jovi, a philosopher from New Jersey, you give feminism “a bad name”.

[1] My blog

Day 8. Stories of Women*: How long will we be oppressed by men? 

This is a question each woman should ask herself because women have suffered for thousands of centuries on the hands of their counterparts, men. As we approach the 16 days of activism against women abuse, I take this opportunity to get my voice heard. The objective is to empower and inspire women who still struggle to be independent from oppressive men. My story will cover matters of religion, tradition, relationships as well as social implications that have been the fuel to the blazing flames of oppression and abuse against women. 

Firstly, I believe religion [here I refer to Christianity which is predominant in Swaziland] has played a major role in supporting patriarchy. This is a system whereby a man is given absolute powers at the expense of a woman. A woman is expected to adhere to whatever a man instructs her to do without question. The old testament has compiled many laws and stories which portray women as nothing but mere objects for men. In Genesis the first story of creation sheds a glimpse of light as far as my argument is concerned. Genesis has the first of the two narratives relating the creation of mankind. Adam is created first, then its only when Adam gets lonely that God decides to create Eve. This is exactly where even men of the cloth derive the interpretation that women were created to serve men with loyalty and respect, to be entertainers (sexually and otherwise) in the world of men. 

Secondly, tradition also contributed hugely in undermining women’s rights. Before the bible came to Africa, Africans were guided by oral traditions (folk tales) which were passed down generations through the word of mouth. These traditions were what constituted the African religious beliefs, practices and wisdom. Traditions created a culture. African cultures may vary but they are almost the same, in theology they are known as African Traditional religions. They all put women under the control of men. When it comes to management in the household, village, government, judiciary, church, sports etc., women are placed at the back seat. Men run everything; from funerals, ceremonies like weddings and most social gatherings. In my observation it’s clear that male domination is a disease that has been passed from generation to generation through traditional beliefs, norms and practices. 

Thirdly relationships too are controlled by culture, for example; in many cultures [ as is the case in Swaziland] men can take more than one wife which brings hell to any woman. The polygamous Swazi King, Mswati has over a dozen wives now and he keeps on adding. The bible too has not saved the situation when you look at the fact that David and Solomon, God’s favourite kings in biblical history, had many wives. It gives men the authority to put their wives through the most monstrous experience of sharing a man. Culture dictates when and how to get involved in a love relationship as well as how a man and a woman is expected to behave. It gives man the absolute powers in a relationship, he dictates what is to be done and what not. Men hate the idea of a woman getting a job because it makes them feel insecure. Men are taught to be brave and be fighters while women are taught how to love a man, to be a servant who is loyal and scared of her man. Such a status quo has led to the widespread abuse imposed on women by men since donkey years ago. Women don’t have a voice in a world dominated by men. Men are groomed to be warriors and fight for themselves, but little is done to help them deal with emotions like anger. This could be the reason why men explode into violence every time a woman tries to break her silence. Women are trained to be tender, emotionally strong and loyal, to arm them for the unfair status quo. 

In addition to that we have the social issue where women are portrayed as inferior compared to their male counterparts. It is believed that women’s brains and body aren’t brilliant and as strong as men. That is why it’s rare even today to find a woman in leadership. Women are reduced to spectators and followers in a world led by men. Government officials, judges, lawyers, pastors, principals, politicians etc., the majority is men. This gives women an unfair competition in the corporate world. A widow can’t support her kids unless she finds another man who will help her with the kids. When my father quit his job in the mines my mother had to defy the odds and break the cultural barriers by going to work in the sugar cane fields just to ensure we acquire education [education is not free in Swaziland]. I’m currently doing a Bachelor of Science at University of Swaziland. The society is the driving force behind oppression of women. My mother got ridiculed and vilified for leaving my father at home to work for us. The sad part is that even women blamed her too.  

In conclusion, I would say it has been argued though that women only have themselves to blame because they don’t support each other. I will agree and disagree. My take is that, women are to blame because they don’t support one another instead they are busy competing for attention from men and the public wearing skimpy clothes exposing their nakedness in the name of freedom. They look down upon each other they gossip about each other, but I see it because of my above arguments where I pointed out that women are taught to be men’s amusers. They want to please men. I disagree because the whole patriarchal system allows a small chance for women to hold meetings and discuss their plight. Women need more than a miracle to get their voice heard they need to shout so loud until the Babylon walls can’t stand it no more. I look forward to seeing them crumble down and fall before my eyes, so I could pronounce true freedom. WOMEN NEED TO TEACH THEIR OWN MALE KIDS TO RESPECT A WOMAN AS AN EQUAL NOT A SUBORDINATE. I THEREFORE, URGE EVERY WOMAN TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I don’t want women to take men as enemies but remember that they are also victims of the system. It is the system that is in control of their thoughts and actions. what they do is what they were taught, what was instilled trillions of days of their lives. It’s hard to teach an old dog some new tricks that is why I suggested that we start teaching our gospel of gender equality to children and the youth. Teach them real love and enlighten them on human rights. 

Swaziland is Africa’s last absolute monarchy led by polygamous King Mswati. Political parties have remained banned by the monarchy since 1973. A total disregard of human rights and the crackdown of human rights defenders who call for multiparty democracy is endemic in sustaining the royal dictatorship. Religion, and culture/tradition is used to socially control the gullible masses. The brutal police force is used suppress those calling for change. 

 

Day 7. Stories of Women*: As a Woman* in Engineering

Since I was little I wasn’t the “typical girl “, I loved playing with Lego, doing taekwondo and helping my father with technical activities. From an early age it was clear to me that I can do anything in the world by my own effort. 

The older I got, the more I realised that this mindset isn’t really represented in the majority of the society. What, for me, appeared normal as a child, became an uncertainty as an adult. All of a sudden it wasn’t “normal” anymore. In my high school years, I studied technical studies, when somebody asked me about it I often got a surprised look: “What? How many girls* are studying that with you? “And the answer was and is still, far too few! 

A related experience was, when I was waiting with an electric-drill in front of my grandmother’s apartment and an elderly man said to me: “Girl, be careful. Don’t hurt yourself! Let it be and ask a man to help you” He couldn’t know that I already managed my moves and built all the shelfs by myself. But, does he need to know that? Shouldn’t it be taken for granted that we women* can do such things? 

Many of my colleagues had similar experiences. One of them told me that when she was 13 years old she went to an excursion with her orchestra. She was the youngest, the average age was around 50. One of the older men approached her at the beginning of the journey and complained that all the women leave the orchestra around their 20s to go study. In his opinion, this was a disgrace because he thought that women should get married before they past their mid-20s and then start planning for a child.  Well, I think there should not be a choice between being a successful woman or a mother. The goal should be a stable childcare system to empower women and to get more female CEOs! 

In many internships, I also have faced the obstacles that women* go through. In my second internship I worked at a construction firm at  a steel factory. We did restoration work. The internship was fantastic, but within the whole company area there was no women’s* restroom there was only bathrooms for men* and most of them included a shower. As a teenager, one feels very uncomfortable to go to the men*s bathroom where you could even look into the showers. So I had to cross the whole place (approx. 10 min) to get to the office, and once there I had to change my shoes because it was forbidden to go through the place with working shoes. I had to change them every time. The whole process took at least 25 minutes every time. A simple separation of showers and restrooms would have solved that problem easily. 

At my last internship I worked in a construction site, I loved it! It was a very technical internship, the place and people were nice, overall it was a great experience except the fact that I was the only woman* in the whole group. At beginning I didn’t notice absence of litter bins in the toilets until I got my period. Where should I put it? I thought, “At the toilet of the construction site and trust that it doesn’t clog? Where do you put the packing?” Questions and problems a little litter bin in the restroom would have easily solved. And now for all not women* reading this – a bin is a necessity in every toilet! 

But, also, little things like the gazing from the male colleagues after you pass through, sometimes too much, that you try to walk through a big circle around them and even then you hear the comments behind you, making you feel uncomfortable in your everyday life. 

How is it to sit as a woman in an auditorium with 90% men*? Do you feel constraint? I would say at the beginning of my student days, yes! Definitely! But eventually you get used to the deficiency. 

To hear jokes about women*, mother-in-law, or similar is unfortunately very common. But not only jokes, the everyday life at the university is full of discriminative statements. For example, you often hear as a woman* you get easier questions at the oral exams, or in general, pass easier due the way of their dressing. It happened to me. For a full month I studied every day for an oral exam and my male colleague tried to ‘encourage’ me by saying: “Don’t worry, as a girl you will pass anyway“. I dress the same way my male colleagues do. Jeans, shirt, sack coat – Jeans, blouse, blazer. Same outfit! The cliché of the miniskirt and all exists merely due to university-porn movies! I study as much as others or even more to pass my exams only with my knowledge. To pass exams with knowledge is the best counter against all these prejudices. 

But not only the daily life at the university gets difficult, also going out often gets pretty difficult. Last summer semester I made a date to go with somebody to a Party. I came to the party with 5 study colleagues directly after the class. We had fun and it was a very nice evening. Suddenly, I remember I arranged a date with somebody earlier. Where was he*? Didn’t we agree to meet here? I looked at my phone and saw three unanswered messages – “Hi, are you already there? “, he responded “I see you but there are only dudes* with you” and the third one was: “I would like to talk with you, but I don’t dare with all the dudes* around you.“ This shows clearly how timid men* become when you are surrounded by other men*.  

Even more shocking is when I go out with my female* friends, we have at least had 2 negative encounters with men* every time, they approach us in a disrespectful way or even touching us without our consent. Often we go home earlier because it is upsetting and we are distressed by the atmosphere. But why is it like that? Are men* scared to be unpleasant when other women* are present? Shouldn’t this fact be totally irrelevant? Shouldn’t they behave normal regardless of whether they talk with men* or women*? Yes, they should! Women* don’t need be protected by men* – women* need men* to find it logical to behave in a respectful manner! 

Despite all these absences there is also bright times, the sorority between women* in engineering studies is enormous, you find very fast friends and you help and support each other. I think until this comfortable feeling emerges. 

A few months ago I was invited at a friend’s home. When I wanted to go to the toilet, the door didn’t lock, no matter how hard I tried. My friend only said, this had already been the case since three weeks but he didn’t know how to fix it. So I offered my help, he helped me to lift out the door and I adjusted the door hinges. And after 5 minutes the door was able to be closed again. After that I also put together his coffee machine and explained to him how to use double-sided tape. Since that day he calls me for every technical thing he needs done and asks for my help. Last week for the first time in his life we put together a cupboard and he didn’t need to call a contractor to do so. All of that, because women* can also help you with technical issues. To all the readers out there, next time something in your house needs a technical hand; ask one of your female friends to help you! This reproduction of cliché is not helping to transform the cliché pictures in some people’s head. 

For all women*, who read this text – Don’t discourage yourself! Only with more women* in engineering and in leading positions this problem will be solved. Because if more women bring themselves to make the step into engineering, men* and women* can finally support each other.  

Day 6. Stories of Women*: The Pink Tax

המס’ הורוד

כפי שכבר רובנו היטבנו להבין, עולם העבודה שונה עבור נשים. נשים משתכרות פחות, הסיכוי של אישה להתקדם בעבודה הוא פחות מזה של גבר, אישה לרוב נאלצת לחלק את זמנה בין המשרה השניה, הבית. זו ללא השכר,התנאים הסוציאליים לרוב, וכן המשרה שמציבה במהלך הקריירה תקופות של מעין משברים זמניים נשים נאלצות להפסיק לעבוד (חופשות לידה, מחלות של ילדיה וכו’), והמביאה לשיקולי עלות-תועלת אצל מעסיקים המביאות לתפיסת נשים כפחות פרודוקטיביות ומשתלמות.

חוסר השוויון בעניין הזה הוא בלתי נתפס, אבל לצערנו לא די בכך -המס’ הורוד מצביע על כך שנשים משלמות יותר. חצי מהאוכלוסיה מצופה, ולעתים נדרשת לשלם תוספת תשלום המכונה המס’ ורוד, שמשמעותו תשלום נוסף על מוצרים מסוימים בשל היותם נשיים.

עלות של מוצרים לא הופכת לאי שוויונית כשאישה “הופכת לאישה”, אלה מלווה את חייה מינקות, ואולי עד הגיל השלישי. עוד בהיותה ילדה העלות של צעצועים יקרה יותר, כך עולה מהסקר של ניו יורק. בהמשך כנערה, מתחילה לרכוש טמפונים ופדים המוגדרים כמוצרי מותרות ועל כן מחויבים במס’. עם ההתפתחות הטבעית מגיע הצורך בחזיות, הלבשה תחתונה ותחתוניות, שעלולים להגיע למאות שקלים, תלוי כמה התפתחת. בזוגיות כשהם מעוניינים לקיים יחסים, מצופה מנשים לרכוש על בסיס קבוע גלולות, טבעת, ובמקרים מסוימים התקן רחמי למניעת הריון. בגיל השלישי, נשים מצופות לתרום יותר לגידול הנכדים, ולחוות חלק גדול ונשנה מתפקידי האימהות. מה שמחד יכול להוות הנאה וסיפוק ומנגד עולה כסף.

לאורך כל התקופות מצופה כמובן לשמור על קו אסתטי, אם זה בהסרת שיער, איפור,ביגוד מוצרי טיפוח לשיער וקרמים, כל אלה כמעט תמיד עולים לה משמעותית יותר. כך למשל חברת old navy  נתפסה על גבייה של בין 15-15$ יותר לנשים בplus size. לפי מחקר שנעשה בניו יורק על 800 מוצרים בגדי נשים ב6 קטגוריות שונות נמצאו יקרים יותר, כאשר בקטגוריית הלבשה תחתונה העלות גדולה בכ-29%. צעצועים של ילדות יקרים בלמעלה מ10% משל ילדים.

מי שלא משלמת בכסף משלמת בסנקציות חברתיות על האופן שבו היא בוחרת להיראות, מה שלא משאיר הרבה בחירה.

לא רק שכל ההזדמנויות לקנות האלה ממש יקרים מדי לשאת, אלא שלא מדובר בעניין זמני. פדים וטמפונים נרכשים כמעט ע”י כל הנשים בגיל הפריון ונחשבים כמצרכי מותרות החייבים במס’, על אף התכיפות וההכרח שבשימוש. גם מונית הביתה בשעה מאוחרת ועוד רשימה ארוכה של שירותים ומוצרים, לא מגיע הלילה שזה הופך להיות בטוח ללכת בסמטאות חשוכות, והמענה היקר נשאר כורח המציאות.

מחד, מופנית כלפי נשים ציפייה מסוימת לאסתטיקה, לטיפוח, אינסטינקט אימהי שנותן מענה לילד עוד לפני שהוא אומר את צרכיו, ולכל אלה יש מחיר לא קטן. מנגד, ברוב המדינות כיום המדיניות היא לרוב אי-לקיחת אחריות חברתית על מתן מענים לנשים, ואף מסגור וסת כבעיה של נשים שיש להסתיר, עד כדי מחלה, ולפתור לבד, שלא נאמר בבושה.

אז למה זה עובר חלק? זה לא סוד שנשים הן הקונות המרכזיות של משק הבית וככאלה בעלי חברות תופסים אותן. הן קונות לעצמן, לבית לילדים ולבעלן. התפיסה היא שהן מחפשות מוצרים יותר אסתטיים ולכן יהיו מוכנות לשלם יותר, וכך יהיה גם מי שמוכן לספק את הסחורה. אין זה מקרי שהמוצרים היקרים יותר הם בדיוק המוצרים שמצופה חברתית מאישה לצרוך – מוצרי היגיינה ואסתטיקה, ביגוד, אף לילדים. כי של מי האחריות כשהילדה נראית מוזנחת?. המנגנון בנוי היטב על תשתיות של סוציאליזציה של נשים לשנוא את עצמן ולחשוב שהן אינן מספיק ושעוד מוצר אחד, מספיק מדויק, יביא אותן לאחיזה חזקה יותר בפשוט להיות בסדר.

אז בואו נבחר מוצרים כחולים,

בואו נגלה את החברות המפלות על בסיס מגדר בניגוד לחוק.

בואו נפעל לשינוי המדיניות במדינה שלנו, ובואו נפסיק לדחוק קושי של נשים החוצה מסדר היום בתירוצי יש דברים חשובים יותר לעסוק בהם.

 

Pink Tax

As most of us already know, work is different for women. Women earn lower salaries, their chances of receiving promotions are more limited than men. Women often have to divide their time between the two jobs, while one is the household that has no wage or social benefits. In addition, there are also periods of temporary ‘crises’ in which women have to stop working (maternity leave, children’s illnesses, period each month and so on.), therefore women are considered less productive and not as worthwhile. This leads to cost-benefit considerations among employers.

The inequality is inconceivable, but unfortunately that’s not it. Half of the population is expected, and sometimes is required, to pay an additional payment called the Pink Tax, which means additional payment for certain products only because they are feminine.

The cost of products is not the only inequitable matter when a woman “becomes a woman,” this accompanies her life from infancy, and perhaps until they are elderly as well. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs released a study comparing the prices of over 800 products. As a female child the cost of toys is more expensive. Later, as a girl, she begins to purchase tampons and pads that are defined as luxury items and are therefore subject to tax. With puberty, comes the need for bras, lingerie and petticoats, which reach high prices and depends on each woman’s personal growth. Later on, when in a relationship, they are expected to purchase contraceptive pills, and in some cases a uterine contraceptive device. When they are older, women are expected to contribute more to raising their grandchildren, and to experience a large proportion of the mothering roles. On one hand this does bring pleasure and satisfaction, but on the other hand costs money.

Throughout their life, it is expected from women to maintain an aesthetic look and habits, whether it is hair removal, makeup, clothing, hair products and different creams, all of which almost always cost significantly higher than other products defined as necessities. For example, according to research conducted in New York on 800 products, women’s clothing from  6 different categories were found more expensive, whereas in the lingerie category the cost was about 29% higher. Toys designed for girls were 10% more expensive.
Those who choose not to pay the monetary price, pay a social price for the way they choose to look, which does not leave much choice to them to choose not to give in to society’s demands.

Not only are all these social expectations too expensive to fulfil, but it’s also not a temporary condition. Tampons and pads are purchased almost by all women who are fertile, and still is considered a luxury item, although the frequency and necessity in these products. Also a late-night taxi is included in the long list of services and products, and although it is not safe to walk late at night, this necessity has become expensive.
On the one hand, women have a certain expectation to fulfil regarding aesthetics or maternal instinct to a child’s needs. On the other hand, in most countries today, the policy is usually not to take social responsibility and provide solutions, and menstruation is framed as a problem of women which must be concealed, as if it was some sort of embarrassing illness.

So why do everyone ignore this and let it happen? It is no secret that women are the sole buyers of the household and owners of companies perceive them this way. They buy for themselves, for their houses, for their children and their husbands. The perception is that they are looking for aesthetic products and therefore will be willing to pay more for them, and there will be someone who is willing to supply the goods. It is no coincidence that the expensive products are precisely the products that women are expected to consume – hygiene and aesthetics, clothing, and even children’s products. Because who’s responsible when a child is neglected?. The mechanism is well built on the socialisation infrastructure of women to hate themselves and to think that they are not good enough and that if they consume one more product, it will bring them to feeling more than just simply ok.

So let’s choose blue products,
Let’s make discriminatory societies on a gender basis against the law.
Let’s act to change the policy in our country, and stop pushing women out of the agenda on the pretext that there are other more important things to deal with.

Day 5. Stories of Women*: Untitled

[ES]

Soy una abogada y militante feminista del Paraguay. Pasé tres años en la cárcel por un crimen que no cometí. Mi caso se convirtió en uno paradigmático, porque como pocas veces, se hizo justicia.

Fui acusada de asesinar a mi esposo en el año 2011, y estuve en la cárcel del Buen Pastor durante tres años. Sin embargo, he sufrido violencia intrafamiliar desde el 2008. He sufrido golpes y maltratos del que en ese entonces era mi esposo. Habiendo realizado las denuncias a las autoridades pertinentes, igual la violencia y el calvario continuaron. En uno de los ataques que sufrí, mi ex esposo me atacó con un arma de fuego, y en un forcejeo él terminó herido y finalmente perdió la vida.

La fiscalía me acusó de homicidio doloso, y pidió una pena de 30 años de prisión. La situación federó a una cantidad importante de activistas y ciudadanos alrededor de mi libertad, y mediante la incidencia y la presión y de un trabajo laborioso y sacrificado de un equipo de abogadas y abogados, finalmente se logró que la Corte Suprema de Justicia, por unanimidad me absuelva.

Considero que la participación es importantísima porque por falta de información muchas veces las mujeres no podemos zafar de una situación que es considerada como normal. Es igualmente importante la ayuda mutua y la sororidad, así como el apoyo ciudadano.

Es cuando hablamos con las personas que nos damos cuenta que en realidad nosotras estamos siendo víctimas. En varias charlas que estoy realizando, la gente se me acerca para decirme que había sido ellas eran víctimas, recién al acceder a la información se dan cuenta de eso.

Lo que me tocó vivir hizo que asuma un compromiso. Si yo pasé por todo eso, otras mujeres también están pasando por lo mismo, o muchas podrían sufrirlo en el futuro. La ayuda que recibí por parte de la ciudadanía, que luchó por mi libertad, hizo que yo también quiera luchar contra la violencia machista.

Todos los días se ven casos de feminicidio, es por la propia convicción que decidí luchar, porque hay que ir ganando espacios. Mi caso rompió un esquema tradicional, porque les cuesta a las mujeres acceder a la justicia.

La unidad por todos los derechos es el único camino para lograr victorias en contra del sistema machista. El problema de la violencia machista tiene que ser combatido desde la educación primaria, para lograr cambios estructurales. Actualmente estoy incursionando en política en el Partido País Solidario, y pugnando por un escaño en la Cámara de Diputados, ya que los cambios estructurales se darán si copamos los espacios, y con políticas públicas a nivel nacional.

Esta es una problemática no solo a nivel nacional, en Paraguay muere una mujer cada 8 días por casos de feminicidio. No debemos renunciar a nuestros derechos, debemos acudir a pedir ayuda donde corresponde, no se sientan solas, porque si nos callamos, nos exponemos a nosotras mismas.

Lucia Sandoval, abogada y militante feminista del Paraguay

[EN]

I am a lawyer and a feminist activist from Paraguay. I spent three years in prison for a crime I did not commit. My case became a paradigmatic one, because as a seldom case, justice was performed.

I was accused of murdering my husband in 2011, and I was in Buen Pastor prison for three years. However, I have suffered intrafamily violence since 2008. I have been beaten and abused by my husband at the time. Having made the reported it to the relevant authorities, the same violence and the ordeal continued. In one of the attacks I suffered, my ex-husband attacked me with a firearm, and in a struggle, he ended up injured and eventually lost his life.

The prosecution accused me of intentional homicide, and requested a sentence of 30 years in prison. The situation united a significant number of activists and citizens. Through advocacy and pressure and a laborious and sacrificial work of a team of lawyers, finally, the Supreme Court of Justice unanimously acquitted me.

I believe that participation is very important because, due to lack of information, women often cannot escape from a situation that is considered normal. Mutual support and sorority, as well as citizens support, are equally important.

It is when we talk to people that we realise that in reality we are being victims. In several talks that I am doing, women come to and tell me that they have been victims too. Only when they have access to information they realise that their situation is not normal.

What I had to go through led me to make a commitment. If I went through all that, other women are going through the same thing, or many may suffer in the future. The help I received from the citizens, who fought for my freedom, made me also want to fight against sexist violence.

Every day we see cases of femicide. It is because of my own conviction that I decided to fight, because we have to gain more spaces. My case broke a traditional scheme, because it gave women access to justice.

Unity for all rights is the only way to achieve victories against the sexist system. The problem of sexist violence has to be fought from primary education, to achieve structural changes. I am currently entering politics in the Partido País Solidario, and fighting for a seat in the Chamber of Deputies, since the structural changes will occur if we take the space, and with public policies at the national level.
This is a problem not only at the national level. In Paraguay, a woman dies every 8 days due to femicide. We must not renounce our rights, we must ask for help, do not feel alone, because if we do not speak up, we expose ourselves to continued violence.

By Lucia Sandoval, a lawyer and a feminist activist from Paraguay.

Documento programático feminista, Comité Americano IUSY 2018 “Sin feminismo no hay socialismo”

El Comité Americano de la Unión Internacional de Juventudes Socialistas –IUSY, por sus siglas en inglés– reunido entre el 11 y el 14 de noviembre en la ciudad de Asunción, Paraguay, con el objetivo de reflexionar en torno a la lucha del movimiento feminista en América, conociendo de las situaciones actuales que se desarrollan en cada uno de nuestros países, así como de los procesos y desafíos colectivos para vencer al machismo, el patriarcado, el conservadurismo, la violencia y la inequidad de género.

En América se han desarrollado múltiples movimientos sociales que visibilizan una serie de realidades injustas y naturalizadas para las mujeres. El movimiento Ni Una Menos/Ni Una Más, la campaña por el aborto libre, seguro y gratuito, las marchas en contra de la violencia de género, la demanda de justicia para Marielle Franco, solicitar educación sexual integral y educación no sexista, el surgimiento de hashtags en redes sociales como: #MeToo, #VivasNosQueremos, #CuentaloTú, #SomosLaMitad #QueremosParidad#MiPrimerAcoso, #NiñasVisibles, #LasNiñasPueden, #NoQuieroTuPiropo, #EleNão; todos los cuales convergen en el amplio espectro de demandas feministas.

En ese contexto, nos pronunciarnos sobre una serie de puntos:

La urgencia de debates feministas en la región

En nuestro continente la agenda feminista ha emergido con fuerza en una nueva ola, entendiendo que tanto el patriarcado como el capital constituyen barreras de desigualdad que empobrecen la calidad de vida de las mujeres. La lucha es mucho más apremiante, si consideramos que el avance de las fuerzas conservadoras está representando una amenaza directa a la lucha feminista. Vemos como la realidad de la violencia de género, en todas sus formas, se encuentra generalizada en el continente y transversalizada en todos los niveles de la sociedad. Queremos incidir en la formación de leyes, programas políticos y políticas públicas que incorporen una perspectiva de género. Sin embargo, es importante tener claro que esto no se puede agotar en el ámbito del Estado, sino que tenemos que apuntar a un profundo cambio cultural en nuestras sociedades.

Requerimos fuerzas políticas coherentes con la agenda feminista

Nuestras juventudes deben ser el vivo reflejo de la agenda que declaramos, llevando a la práctica el discurso feminista. Entendemos que un socialismo auténticamente democrático debe representar los principios antipatriarcales, decoloniales y que aporten una mirada interseccional a nuestros países. A partir de este Comité nos comprometemos con avanzar en protocolos contra la violencia de género, para tratar los casos que tengan lugar en las organizaciones; a promover la participación política efectiva de las compañeras en forma paritaria en nuestros partidos; a insertarnos y acompañar los movimientos sociales y luchas autónomas de las mujeres en los países; así como también, nos damos a la tarea de cuestionar fuertemente la idea de un modelo heteronormado y androgénico de forma hegemónica.

Fortalezcamos la participación política de las mujeres

Identificamos como obstáculos a la participación política de las mujeres la inexistencia o debilidad de los procesos de cuotas en elecciones populares, la falta de formación política con una perspectiva feminista, la ineficacia de los partidos a la hora de incentivar la participación de las compañeras, la invisibilización de vocerías femeninas en espacios políticos y una débil descentralización de la representación en los espacios subnacionales. Para estos obstáculos creemos que es importante trabajar activamente en favor de la autonomía política de las mujeres, potenciando las capacidades que, en todos los sentidos, tienen las mujeres para participar activamente en los espacios de la esfera pública.

Generemos las condiciones para un trabajo decente para las mujeres

Hemos visto de cerca, ya que es evidente, como las mujeres de América trabajan en empleos informales, en condiciones precarias, por mayores tiempos y con menor salario que los hombres. En efecto, los trabajos no remunerados siguen siendo formas de empleo invisibilizado y minimizados en nuestras economías, realidad ante la cual apuntamos decididamente a la formación de Sistemas Nacionales de Cuidado que contribuyan a mejorar la vida de las mujeres que han sido relegadas a estas labores por su condición de género, clase social, lugar de procedencia, edad o pueblos originarios y afrodescendientes. Del mismo modo, la realidad de las jóvenes que, por distintas razones, no acceden a educación u oportunidades laborales, es preocupante y nos impulsa a buscar mecanismos de garantía de estos derechos sociales, siendo la ampliación de la educación pública, gratuita y de calidad la mayor herramienta para ello.

Aspiramos a una educación con perspectiva de género

Nos hemos sumado, y daremos continuidad, a la demanda por una educación no sexista a lo largo de todo el ciclo educativo. Atendiendo, con particular atención, los procesos de eliminación de estereotipos de género, promoción de la participación activa de mujeres en áreas del conocimiento masculinizadas, exigir mayor presencia femenina en la cabeza de nuestros centros de educación superior, instalar la paridad en la representación estudiantil. Estas demandas no reemplazan, sino que complementan, la lucha activa que llevamos por ampliar el acceso de niñas, jóvenes y mujeres al derecho a una educación pública, gratuita, integral, laica y no sexista.

Queremos una vida libre de violencia para las mujeres

Nos mantenemos firmes en la defensa del derecho de las mujeres americanas a una vida libre de violencias. Esto incluye la necesidad de ampliar la concepción de violencia, y así penalizar acciones como el acoso callejero, la violencia sexual y la explotación de mujeres en el comercio sexual y el narcotráfico, así como ejecutar eficientemente los programas estatales que abren casas de acogida, procedimientos judiciales especializados y prevención de situaciones de violencia. A su vez, hemos detectado que la creciente encarcelación de mujeres en el continente dice relación con la utilización de las mujeres por parte del crimen organizado y un paupérrimo acceso a la justicia.

Abramos el debate sobre las libertades y derechos sexuales y reproductivos

Durante 2018, hemos sido testigos de cómo el movimiento de mujeres ha impulsado el debate sobre la agenda de derechos sexuales y reproductivos. Compartimos los objetivos de Educación Sexual Integral para decidir, anticonceptivos para no abortar y aborto legal para no morir. Vemos, en la comunidad LGTBIQ+, una población donde no hay una promoción suficiente de sus derechos sexuales y reproductivos, al igual que el conjunto de sus Derechos Humanos.

Estamos segures de que, los puntos anteriormente desarrollados, son una expresión de la progresividad de los Derechos de las Mujeres, que no es otra cosa que progresividad del Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos en su totalidad, el avance de una democracia sustantiva sin fronteras y la consolidación de un desarrollo sostenible, a través de la transversalidad de la mirada de género en nuestros países y la implementación de la Agenda 2030.

Nos volvemos a nuestros países con la convicción de que sin feminismo no podremos construir socialismo.

¡SIN FEMINISMO NO HAY SOCIALISMO!

¡SE VA CAER!

Comité Americano de IUSY 18´
Asunción, Paraguay
13 de noviembre de 2018