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Americas: Celebrating Women's Day

Categories: Latin America, Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Peru, Uruguay, Development, Women & Gender

Bloggers from across Latin America also commemorated International Women's Day [1] with posts about the day which is celebrated every March 8 throughout the world. Some also took the opportunity to reflect on some of the issues facing women, but also featured initiatives that are working to alleviate some of these problems.

Parloteando [es] from Medellín, Colombia examines why and how some people observe the day [2]:

Cada quien tendría razones para festejar, pero no podemos enorgullecernos del tinte comercial que ha tenido los últimos años esta fecha…la mayoría de nosotras no sabemos de donde sale la iniciativa de esta celebración. Solo nos preocupamos de lo material, de que nos regalaran o quien nos regale algo, de arreglarnos para la gente que nos mira ese día, de quien nos recuerda y hasta de quien no lo recordó, pero es hora que nosotras mismas nos regalemos algo…sí…algo como: respeto por nuestra feminidad, pasión por lo que hacemos, responsabilidad en nuestros actos, y ante todo dignidad para seguir siendo MUJERES.

Each person has his or her reasons for celebrating, but we cannot be proud of the commercial tone that has been taken in the past several years… the majority of us don't know where this celebration comes from. We just worry about the material goods, what we are given as presents or who gives us presents, of making ourselves up for those that will see us on that day, of who remembers us and even those who don't remember us, but now is the time where we give ourselves something…yes, something like: respect for our own femininity, passion for what we do, responsibility for our own actions, and above all, dignity to continue to be WOMEN.

For many, respect and the recognition of women should not be something that is limited to one day, and as Remolacha [es] from the Dominican Republic writes as a headline [es], “Women's Day Should Be Every Day [3].” Mariolo of Asi ta’l mundo, Botija [es] written from Uruguay also echoes this sentiment [4] and writes Happy 365 Days.

Some of the issues that women in Latin America face deal with development. The blogger from Peru es Babel [es] writes that providing health care and education to everyone is at the top of the list [5]. There are also serious issues involving violence against women.

This ongoing concern for issues directly affecting women is something that Jose R Sosa focuses on throughout the Dominican Republic. He writes about some troubling statistics [es] [6].

En lo que va de año, 8 mujeres han sido asesinadas por la violencia de los agresores.
En los últimos 36 meses, 500 mujeres han sido muertas de forma violenta por los hombres que se siguen creyendo dueñas de ellas.
¿No es una cuota muy alta para conmemorarla hoy sólo con aplausos y flores?

So far this year, 8 women have been murdered by violence.
In the past 36 months, 500 women have been violently killed by men who still think that they are their owners
Isn't this too high of a number to only commemorate it with applause and flowers?

However, Sosa introduces us to different organizations and public service announcements for the prevention of domestic violence against women. He publishes photographs of some of these posters and billboards including one that utilizes the Dominicans’ love of the sport of baseball. The slogan features a baseball player with the words, “I only hit a baseball….never a woman [7].”

In Peru, blogger Susana Villarán also presents some alarming data about the state of women in the Peruvian region of San Martín [es] [8]:

Es una región en la que la tasa de mortalidad materna es de 30 por cada 100,000 nacidos vivos, donde el índice de analfabetismo es muy alto en las mujeres de las zonas más pobres en el área rural de San Martín, en la que la cobertura educativa en la primera infancia es de solamente 5%, donde han elegido una sola alcaldesa, en la que los niveles de violencia física, sicológica y sexual son preocupantes…

It is a region where the maternal mortality rate is 30 for every 100,000 live births, where the rate of illiteracy is very high for women in the poorest areas of the San Martín countryside, where the educational coverage for the first infancy is only 5%, where only one woman mayor has been elected, where the levels of physical, psychological and sexual violence are alarming…

However, she writes about the Regional Plan of Equal Opportunities 2009-2015 that is being implemented in the region with the help of a network of women leaders that number 4,000 in 8 provinces. She writes that this plan is an “essential tool to achieve high levels of equality and for the women of San Martín to enjoy their rights.”

The site Flickr is also being utilized to honor women, and Venezuelan photographer David Luna created a group called Mujeres de Venezuela [9] (Women of Venezuela) to feature portraits of women across the diverse country. One photographer, Jesus Molina wrote a note to accompany this photograph [10]:

Photo by Jesus Molina and used under a CC licence http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesusmolina/3337482708/in/pool-mujeresdevenezuela/ [11]

Photo by Jesus Molina and used under a CC license http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesusmolina/3337482708/in/pool-mujeresdevenezuela/

Desde aquí mi apoyo a todas las mujeres que luchan cada día por la igualdad de género, aunque muchos piensen que es sencillamente imposible.

From here, I support all women that fight everyday for gender equality, even though many think that it is simply impossible.

In another diverse country, Cristina Quisbert of Bolivia Indigena [es] honors the indigenous women of El Alto, Bolivia [12], who can be often seen with the traditional textile called the aguayo that are used to carry goods and their children:

Muchos y muchas de nosotros de seguro que hemos recorrido kilómetros y kilómetros cargados en un multicolor aguayo sobre las espaldas de nuestras madres. Hoy, como ayer, muchas son las mujeres que recorren las calles de El Alto, del área rural o de otras ciudades, ya sea trabajando o participando de las actividades ciudadanas.

Many of us surely have traveled kilometers and kilometers being carried in a multi-colored aguayo on the backs of our mothers. Today, like past days, many women walk the streets of El Alto, from the rural areas or from other cities, working or participating in other activities.

On behalf of the team from Global Voices Online Latin America [13], we honor women across the region and the entire world.