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Women of Cuba
Transcript of Women of Cuba
Women The FMC Vilma Espin
Guillois A Brief History Of Cuban Women General Women's Rights Why Women Fight Ladies in White Hip Hop and Women Women and Dissidents The Internet Theory vs. Practice: The Future of
Women's Rights in Cuba The Spanish women were very traditional women. They were virgin before marriage and faithful to their husbands. The upper class women's only work was taking care of the house and the family. They stayed at home while the men worked. The lower class was mostly the same except some lower class women did work. They mostly did domestic work in the houses of the upper class women. During the fifties when Cuba was democracy, women, along with domestic jobs, could get secretary position and a few other
jobs. However, even with these freedoms because of lacking education and societal view women rarely works out of the home. A few women help fight the first revolution against the Spanish, but most involved were messengers, nurses or taught. The communist revolution was much more inclusive of women. Called Marianas, women soldiers fought and died equal to their man
counterparts. However, after the revolution many men and women thought women should again be homeworkers and wives. However, the new government had
different ideas. Born in 1930 and died in 2007, Vilma is arguably the most influential women in Cuba. She was one the three women heroes of the communist revolution, the president of the FMC and the stand-in first lady for thirty-seven years. She helped make many
the women's right laws, like the Family Code of 1975, and
was the political advisor to her husband Raoul
Castro and his brother, Fidel. The Federation of Cuban Women was founded by
Vilma Espin Guillois in 1960. A majority of the female population are members numbering over 3 million, Women are some of the most active protesters in Cuba. Many different groups have many reasons for protesting. Some want to change the government, some fight for family and others just want to be heard. ""T'he government has shown a real reluctance to lock women up for long periods of time,' says Erikson. Why? 'It could be two things: 1) The government is afraid of aggravating international opinion or
2) women are seen as less of a threat to the system.'" (Clark and Llana 2008) Also known as "Las Damas de Blanco", this group of wives, daughters, and sisters stage peaceful protests to try and get their male relatives incarcerated during "Black Spring" when the Cuba government cracked down on journalist and political dissidents. At least 100 men were imprisoned for an undeclared amount of time. Most notably in the March 18, 2003 their
protests were met with police brutality
sending many to the hospital. Video
found its way onto the internet
(despite restrictions) and brought
awareness to their cause and
the cruelty of the cuban
government. It was established to fulfill the Leninist concept that a women
organization should be under the central party. They work with the government to make laws, like the Family Code, that further women equality. They also urge women to participate in politics, get an education, and enter the workplace. Education is both available and equally provided to both girls and boys. 99% of boys and girls are enroll in primary school. 83% of girls and 82% of boys at move on to secondary level education.
(genderindex.org) Women in
the Workplace Conflicting Stats The actually position of Cuban Women varies
depending on those you ask. While researching, I found that the FMC and international organizations provide conflicting information on the number of women in the workplace. Since Cuba is currently under a dictatorship and the FMC is a government associated group, it may be possible to assume that their stats may be skewed propaganda. However, I found them important because it shows the difference between how Cuban are meant to see their gender equality and the way the rest of the world sees it. According to the World Economic Forum's 2012 Global Gender Gap report, women barely make up a fifth of the governing party. Only 7% of the Cuban Communist Party’s ruling Politburo, 14% of their Secretariat, 22% of the Council of Ministers and only 1 of 5 vice presidents are women. (Torregrosa, New York Times). This is a common problem in all countries however. Women are rather well represented in the lower political positions holding 265 of 614 seats in the National Assembly. (genderindex.org). However, unfair/unfree elections may affect this number. " (It) is all well and good, but it’s no equality that was earned or achieved
by women from the bottom up. It was something that was decided at the top and set into law,”-Sarah Stevens, director of Center for Democracy in America The World Economic Forum 2012 Global Gender Gap reports 38.1 percent of Cuba’s work force are women which is less than 40 percent of working-age women. Because of the jobs available to them, Cuban women earn on average less than half what men make, (Torregrosa, NYT) Cienfuegos provincial president of the FMC, Myla Santana Rodriguez, said 67% of technical field workers are women and 40% of employees in the intelligence field such as research scientists, academics and doctors. She also said promotions and job opportunities are equal and even slightly in favor of women (Sahota,
of Nottingham) “Cuban women are justifiably proud of their position in society”-Martha, a cuban tranport manager. (Sahota) In 2011 alone, 40,000 Cubans, more than half of them women, left the island. “I’m the only one left,” a secretary lamented. “All my friends are abroad.” (NYT) Hip Hop is a very popular art form in Havana. It is also very masculine dominated, but there is one female group of musicians that use Hip Hop as a way of expressing womanhood, and fighting discrimination of both race
and gender. Las Krudas is
made of three women who
also volunteer helping teach
children's theater workshops. From leaked Women in White protest videos to
female bloggers, the internet has played a key role in spreading the message of dissident women in Cuba. The medium is very regulated and limited in Cuba but people work around it to get their messages out. Now people from all over the world know and fight for their causes, all because of women. The Family Code legislation is the keystone to Cuban family laws. Women and men have joint custody of children. Both can legally marry at 18. Household duties are still mostly women's duties as society view dictate. Cuban women receive 18 weeks of paid maternity and government run many daycares for children with working parents. Abortions are availible for women in the first trimester of pregnancy and many hospitals specialize in childbirth/pregnancy. Both Mother's Day and National Women's day are widely
celebrated holidays commemorating the women of cuba. While the Law in Cuba are fine, the realization of these ideals
not be perfect. Discrimination, bigotry, and other problem still stand in the way of Cuban women and sadly the government refuses to admit it. However, the Women have shownthat they are willing to fight for their rights and the rights of the rest of Cubans as well. The FMC, and women's groups not under the government will move slowly forward from the platform that solid equality laws created.