“No feminism, no change” asserts MujeresMundi, a “website of Latin American origin and now completely written in Spanish” that “aims to be the echo of little-known initiatives that provide solutions for women and girls in a number of communities.” The website explains how it puts together the stories it publishes on a monthly basis:
[..] Reunimos así a cronistas feministas de diversos orígenes y a bloggers activistas invitados.
El cambio está a la vuelta de la esquina, aunque a veces lo sentimos lejano. La única manera de acercar el cambio es proponiéndonos.
[…] We bring together female chroniclers from various backgrounds and guest activist bloggers.
Change is around the corner, even though we sometimes feel it's far away. The only way to bring change closer is to set our minds on it.
MujeresMundi creator and editor Xaviera Medina is a Peruvian social communication specialist and photographer based in Belgium who worked in Afghanistan for three years. Global Voices spoke with her in 2012, when MujeresMundi was just beginning, to take a global approach to stories about women and their struggles. Her experiences in Afghanistan and also in Azerbaijan, the Arab Emirates and India were the starting point for a space that tells personal stories of empowered women and their daily life around the world.
Feminism, freedom and boxing
In the most recent MujeresMundi online issue, Xaviera shares how boxing gloves can represent freedom for an all-women group from Kabul:
En el estadio olímpico de Kabul “los talibanes lapidaban a las mujeres y en el gimnasio donde ahora nos entrenamos las encarcelaban” testimonia Sadar en el documental del joven cineasta, Ariel Nasr. Un documental con un título que podría parecer surrealista para muchos: Las Boxeadoras de Kabul. […] Ariel narra la historia de este peculiar equipo, particularmente de Sadaf, Shabnam y Shalah durante las preparatorias internacionales para poder acceder a los Juegos Olímpicos de Londres. Una competencia que resultó mucho más ruda de lo que el equipo hubiera podido imaginar. […] Las boxeadoras de Kabul utilizan los guantes como una lucha interna contra costumbres e ideologías que han enraizado en su país una cultura controlada por varones.
As Sadar explains in Ariel Nasr's documentary about women boxing in Kabul, at the Kabul Olympic Stadium “the Taliban used to stone women to death, and at the gym where we now train, they incarcerated them.” A documentary with a title that might seem surreal to many viewers: “Kabul Boxing Women.” […] Ariel tells the story of this unique team, particularly of Sadaf, Shabnam and Shalah during their international training in order to participate in the London Olympic Games. A competition that ended up being much tougher than the team could have imagined. […] The boxing girls from Kabul use their gloves as an internal struggle against the traditions and ideologies that have allowed a culture controlled by men to take root in their country.
And in a different, very personal piece, Peruvian journalist Suiry Sobrino recalls stories of violence that were normalized in her family, the meaning of which she only came to understand as an adult:
Recuerdo que dentro de mi familia se contaba una historia que escuché desde pequeña, mi bisabuelo había visto a mi bisabuela, le gustó, la raptó de su casa […], la encerró en su habitación hasta que ella no tuvo más alternativa que casarse con él. […] sin ninguna explicación previa de nadie, entendí que lo que había sufrido mi bisabuela era una violación (probablemente siendo aún menor de edad).
I remember that my family used to tell a story I'd been hearing since I was a little girl. My great grandfather had seen my great grandmother, he liked her, he kidnapped her from her home […] locked her in his bedroom until she had no other choice than to marry him. […] with no previous explanation from anybody, I understood that what my great grandmother had gone through was rape (and she probably was still a minor).
In the end, she reflects:
La mayoría hemos crecido en ambientes en donde se justifica la violencia: “tu papá toma porque está estresado”, “me grita porque está borracho”; “tu hermano invade tu privacidad porque te cuida” […]. Todas estas frases ingresan a nuestros subconscientes y definen nuestra forma de actuar cuando ya somos adultas, sabemos que está mal soportar cualquier tipo de violencia, pero no hemos aprendido a hablar. […] Para cambiar el panorama, para detener los feminicidios, primero hay que asumirnos como parte del problema. ¿Qué estamos haciendo para que nuestras niñas sientan que no pueden hablar? […] Todas las violencias son en primera instancia, solo nuestras.
Most of us have grown up in environments where violence is justified: “your dad drinks because he's stressed,” “he yells at me because he is drunk,”; “your brother invades your privacy because he's looking after you” […]. All these phrases get into our subconscious and define how we act when we are grown-ups. We know it's wrong to accept any kind of violence, but we haven't learned to talk. […] To change that, to stop femicide, we first have to accept that we are also part of the problem. What are we doing to our girls? Why do they feel that they can't talk? […] All instances of violence are initially only ours.
Spreading information and defending women rights online
Besides sharing stories, MujeresMundi has online spaces in which they pay attention to events and breakthroughs that concern women's welfare or violence against women. On their Twitter account, @mujeresmundibxl, the team has recently echoed the outrage over the recent slaying of 7-year-old Colombian girl Yuliana Samboni in Bogota on December 4 and legal setbacks in Turkey:
— mujeresmundibxl (@mujeresmundibxl) 7 de diciembre de 2016
OUTRAGE! Cases such as Yuliana that didn't caused a national scandal. Not one less.
— mujeresmundibxl (@mujeresmundibxl) 21 de noviembre de 2016
SHAME, INSTITUCIONALIZED CRIME. Turkey is considering pardoning those who rape a minor if he marries her.
They also use their networks for internationally relevant announcements that celebrate global victories in women's rights:
La naissance d'une maternité à Kaboul. Une bonne nouvelle!https://t.co/d3UKTyVFAe
— mujeresmundibxl (@mujeresmundibxl) 21 de noviembre de 2016
The birth of a maternity ward in Kabul. Good news!
And that's part of how MujeresMundi goes about “chronicling about what makes us women uncomfortable, about what can be improved and what can be changed.”