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28 January 2013 | | | |

Women in Charge

The struggles of women against the dominant economic-political model

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On the second day of activities of the Summit of the Peoples that took place in Santiago de Chile in parallel to the EU-CELAC Summit, several social movements and organizations met in the morning to discuss two main issues: the women’s movement in charge of economic integration processes and feminism-building processes. The speaker’s table was made up by representatives of feminist movements, environmentalist organizations, peasants and indigenous movements.

At the beginning, the problem of the current development model in Latin America and especially in terms of women was addressed by Nalu Farias, activist of the World March of Women, who said that the continent is in a situation marked by the defeat of the FTAA, in which the arrival of progressive governments allowed to reduce poverty and strengthen the state as "promoter of public policies". According to her, during the most neoliberal years gender inequalities were recognized, but this recognition was not met with redistribution policies.

While the activist understands that the situation has changed and there are no isolated measures to address gender inequalities, but policies framed in the context of more general policies (on health and education for instance), also considers that public policies towards women continue to conceive them as mothers and not as "autonomous political subjects". This can be seen through income transference policies that include conditions related to the exercise of motherhood.

She also stated that there are issues that need to be developed, such as the non recognition of the work overload on women, issues related to violence, which is treated on a case by case basis without questioning the model that promotes it, and the issue of gender equality. According to Farias, these issues should be focused on the dominant model.

Elisabeth Peredo, of the Latin American Network of Women Transforming Economy (REMTE) was another of the speakers present in the activity. She highlighted the fact that Cuba is taking on the temporary presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean states, due to the fact that it has been "the first mainstay of the anti-imperialistic resistance." This is not little in the context of a summit, which according to her, follows a tradition of meetings marked by "the will of EU countries to capture our countries, implementing or strengthening a neoliberal vision under the guise of environmental and gender equality, etc".

One of the main concerns according to Elisabeth is the continuity of the processes of resistance and building from social movements. Particularly in the case of feminist struggles, she recognized that a lot of things have been achieved in the past years: “the struggle against violence, in favor of the inclusion of women in the labor world, the struggle to achieve gender-based public policies, but at the same time, the numbers scare us”.

The reasons to understand this, according to the activist, have to do with the need to work more at ideological, cultural and subjective levels. She also confirmed the need to conceive new paradigms, taking ideas that are hidden such as the economy of care or the work overload women are facing in the territory.

In terms of the struggles by women in the continent and in the entire world in the past years, Francisca “Pancha” Rodriguez said that their struggles are the most advanced, developing ideas of justice and equity and increasing popular struggles.

The activity was called by the World March of Women, the National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women, ANAMURI (Chile), the National Coordination of Rural and Indigenous Working Women CONAMURI, (Paraguay), the Latin American Network of Women Transforming Economy, REMTE, the National Federation of Peasant, Artisan, Indigenous, Native and Worker Women of Peru, FEMUCARINAP, the Transnational Institute, TNI, and Friends of the Earth International, FoEI.

Photo: Cintia Barenho – World March of Women

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