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Americas: International Women's Day Across the Region

March 8th marked International Women's Day, a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women. Latin American bloggers have widely celebrated the date in many different ways.

From Venezuela, Curiosa congratulates [es] all women:

… a todas esas mujeres que le echan un camión de pierna cada día, aquellas a las que les dijeron que no podrían salir airosas de una enfermedad, aquellas que les dijeron que eran muy chamas o muy viejas o muy novatas para ese cargo, aquellas que fueron subestimadas sin saber su potencial, aquellas que fueron ridiculizadas, aquellas que fueron vejadas, aquellas que fueron víctimas, aquellas que les costó y les está costando un mundo sacar a sus hijos o a su familia adelante, aquellas que ríen y lloran sin pena de expresar lo que sienten y no sentirse por eso menos que nadie, a todas esas mujeres que deben batallar con un prototipo de tetas operadas y cuerpos “perfectos” en un mundo lleno de eso cada día mas, a todas ustedes mujeres, porque dentro de cada una saben qué es lo que más las hace fuertes, lo que mas las motiva, lo que las saca adelante.
Porque se que dentro de todas y cada una de ustedes esta la llave, la clave, para salir adelante y mirar alto con orgullo y decir: Nunca me subestimes, porque en realidad no me conoces.

… all those women that have a truck on their leg every day, the ones that were told that wouldn't be able to overcome an illness, the ones that were told that they were too young or too old or too inexperienced for a post, those that were underestimated without knowing their potential, those that were ridiculed, those that were humiliated, those that were victims, those that are struggling to raise their kids or their family, those that laugh and cry without embarrassment of showing their feelings or feeling inferior to anyone because of that, those that have to face the model of a woman with breast implants and “perfect” bodies in a world with increasingly more of those, to all of you women, because inside each one of you there is something that makes you strong, something that motivates you, something that makes you go forward. Because I know that inside all and each one of you there is the key to survive everything and look up with pride and say: Never underestimate me, because in fact you don't know me.

Also from Venezuela, Yosmary Delgado [es] pays a tribute to courageous women in Latin America, such as Arlen Siu Bermúdez, am 18-year old revolutionary student leader against the Nicaraguan dictatorship that was assassinated by Anastasio Somoza‘s National Guard. She also posts a song dedicated to her, as well as a couple of videos honoring women.

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Photo by Subcomandanta and used under a Creative Commons license.

Sara Herrera B from the Dominican Republic also pays a tribute [es] to all the women that forged the country: “María Trinidad Sánchez, Manuela Diez (mother of Juan Pablo Duarte), Concepción Bona, María Baltasara De Los Reyes, Salomé Ureña, Juana Saltitopa, and other courageous women that are nowadays an example in our society”. And Malena Ezcurra [es] from Argentina, remembers the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, for their courage in protesting for their lost children by themselves, tireless and without fear:

Han extendido su ejemplo de lucha acercando su solidaridad a otras madres de desaparecidos y presos políticos de Latinoamérica y el mundo; participando activamente en las luchas sociales de los que creen que un orden mundial más justo es posible. A ellas el homenaje de cada día y el de hoy, por la verdad y la dignidad de los pueblos. “Nunca Más”.

They have extended their example of struggle bringing their solidarity to other mothers of the disappeared and political prisoners in Latin America and the world; participating actively in the social struggle of those who believe that a fairer world order is possible. To them, a daily homage and also in this special day, for the truth and dignity of peoples. “Never Again”.

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“Cigarettes kill, Machismo also kills” – Photo by Flora G and used under Creative Commons license

Zenia Regalado from Cuba notes that [es] there are still many women in the world complaining about the need for such a day, because it means that women are still far from being regarded with equity, and he explains the situation of feminism in Cuba:

en [Cuba] la palabra feminismo no ha encontrado aún aceptación, si bien miles de congéneres la llevan a la práctica en la cotidianidad ante la ruptura de la pareja y la crianza en solitario de los hijos, lo cual demanda de una red de apoyo personal entre familiares y amigos para escalar las cimas de las tres dimensiones: madre, hija, trabajadora asalariada (sea profesional o no).

in [Cuba] the word feminism is still not used, although there are thousands of women putting it into practice on a daily basis after a breakup with their partner, and having to bring up the children by themselves, which requires a network of personal support amongst relatives and friends to reach the top of the three dimensions: mother, daughter, wage-earning worker (professionally or not)

Desde dos mundos [es], quotes José Saramago, the Nobel laureate writer, in response to women that are wondering if such a day is necessary:

Yo escribo, Pilar escribe, traduce, habla en la radio, cuida del marido, cuida la casa, cuida los perros, hace las compras, hace la comida, y escribe, traduce, habla en la radio, cuida del marido y de la casa, y de los perros, y sale a hacer las compras, y vuelve para hacer la comida , y escribe, traduce, habla en la radio y se encarga de la ropa, y acoge a los amigos y sigue, incansable, dialogando con el mundo, y dice “Estoy cansada” y luego dice “Pero no importa”. Yo escribo.

I write, Pilar writes, translates, talks on the radio, takes care of her husband, takes care of the house, takes care of the dogs, she goes grocery shopping, she cooks, and she writes, translates, talks on the radio, takes care of her husband, and of the house, and of the dogs, and she goes grocery shopping, and she comes back to cook again, and she writes, and she translates, talks on the radio, and takes care of the laundry, and she entertains some guests and continues, breathless, talking with the world, and she says “I'm tired” and then she says “But it doesn't matter”. I write.

For Susana Villarán [es], from Peru, this day is also necessary because there are still thousands of women that are not aware of their rights and who need to make their voice heard:

Mientras Juana e Ignacia sean maltratadas en las comisarías y las ninguneen, mientras no entiendan el castellano con el que les habla el policía, la Fiscal o el Juez. Mientras Juana e Ignacia sientan vergüenza de haber sido violadas creyendo que es su deber, sin saber siquiera que es un delito el que comete su pareja y que podría terminar en la cárcel si ella lo denuncia.
Mientras ellas amanezcan y se acuesten con miedo, habrá que seguir luchando.

While Juana and Ignacia are being mistreated or looked down upon in police stations, while they are spoken in Spanish, a language that they don't understand by the police, the attorney or the judge. While Juana and Ignacia feel the shame of being raped thinking that it was their duty, not even knowing that the one commiting an offense is their partner and that he could end up in jail if she reported him. While they still wake up and go to bed with fear, we will have to continue fighting.

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