By Iviani Padín Geroy
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
All Cuban women of childbearing age are entitled to one package of sanitary pads per month 1.20 pesos in national currency. It may be that our country is the only one in the world that gives women the possibility of obtaining this product in pharmacies in a regulated manner, and for this the State spends considerable sums of money.
However, to say that the “intimate”, as it is popularly known, is a consumable subsidized by the State, that only partially solves a basic hygienic need which believes in neither productive delays nor obsolete machinery.
That is why JR returns to one of the issues that the national press has insistently addressed in recent years, and in which again and again the same complaints are repeated by the population involved.
Ten are not enough
“Now they are giving me the pads from September, according to the pharmacists, because they have reached the eighth cycle and these will be the last ones to be given this year,” says Odalis González, 25 years old.
Odalis, like many other Cuban women, has seen the need to buy sanitary pads on the black market, or “under the table”, as Marta Valdés, 34, says, claiming that the resellers always have the item and decide its price according to demand. “Ten pesos in normal times, and in times of shortage at 15 to 20 pesos in national currency,” she says.
Even with this alteration, the Mariposa pads continue to be the first option for those who cannot afford them in hard currency stores, where their price starts at 1.00 CUC.
“At home it’s me and my two daughters, and the three of us have a lot of menstrual flow, so we need three to four packages per month in addition to those assigned to us. We buy them near the pharmacy from a man who always sells them for ten pesos, because my salary is not enough to pay for them in hard currency,” says Yuniet Medina, from Centro Habana.
Danay Zaldívar, from Cerro, also prefers to buy them in this “cheaper” way, and she always have some in stock, she points out, because whoever sells them to her has them “even if the factory stops [producing them for] three months”.
The Mariposa pads are surcharged not only in the streets, but also in pharmacies, says Dayana Montejo, 22 years. “When you go many times they tell you that they don’t have them, that the factory has stopped, that there is no way to transport them, but if you ask them to ‘solve your problem’, a package appears at once, of course, at 10 or 15 pesos.”
María Luisa Ortega, from the same municipality, does not [always] get the ten pads that the package should contain, let alone that it is too small a number. “Sometimes they contain eight or nine pads, I have also found some with 11; but I do not think that this is a big problem, because in neither case are they enough, not even for women who, like me, have a regular three-day-long flow,” she remarks.
The said picture is also complicated from the popular viewpoint. Beyond nuances and stories, the black market should not be the solution to acquire this highly sought-after product.
What does science say?
The perspective of the specialists regarding menarche [fertility cycle?] and the frequency with which the pads have to be changed, justifies Cuban women’s concern when they reach a stage that by itself is complicated enough.
So says Dr. Arelis León Rodríguez, a specialist with the Amércia Arias Teaching Gyneco-Obstetric Hospital who recommends a change every four hours, that is, six pads per day during an ordinary period.
«When blood comes into contact with oxygen it begins to give off a bad smell. Also, if you use a pad for longer than you should, you would be at risk of catching germs and bacteria, since blood is also an excellent culture medium,” she explains.
Menarche can start from ten years of age and it tends to disappear before 55. That is why this is the stage in which the regulated pads are distributed; however, it is a biological process that manifests itself in different ways in each person, so the flows are not equally regular or abundant.
Then, doing some calculations reveals that 18 units are needed for a three-day-long period, and 42 for a week-long one. Definitely, the fertile stage becomes a real tragedy for women, who are forced to break the sanitary rules suggested by the specialists to make our stock of pads last a few more days.
And the quality?
«Terrible. I have to buy them in hard currency stores for my 15-year-old daughter because the ones they sell in the pharmacy make her skin sore and absorb very little, so she often gets stained. It is a sacrifice to buy them at 1.00 CUC or more because my salary is 350 pesos in national currency, and that is to cover all household expenses,” says Maribel Fuentes, from Old Havana.
The lack or excess of glue in the body of the pad is another recurring complaint. “When they have it, the glue is not where it should be, and that makes the pad very uncomfortable to wear because it runs constantly and that can be an embarrassment in front of other people,” warns Yenisey Yera, from Bauta.
Since 2007, extra-thin PADS cushions with and without wings [see translator’s note at bottom] have been marketed, but the change has not been welcomed by all women. Amarilis Verdecia, from San Miguel del Padrón, feel that, although sometimes it has been explained that these pads have greater absorption than the previous ones, it is not like that, and that to be safe, she must use more than one at the same time.
Yadira Ariosa, from Cerro, agrees with the poor quality of the product in general, but believes that the extra-thin pads are more comfortable than the thicker ones.
Butterfly according to Mathisa
On December 15, 2017 Emma Hernández Ibarra, general director of Mathisa, the National Hygienic-Sanitary Materials Company –and the only producer of sanitary pads in the country– replied through Granma newspaper to a complaint issued by Yudania Roche Sánchez, who decried their poor quality.
In the publication, director Hernández Ibarra explains that Mathisa relies in technology from the year 2004 that allows producing pads with and without wings, the latter mainly destined to hard currency stores.
She also said that the decision to produce “wingless pads for pharmacies responds to technological difficulties in the production lines”.
In search of more answers, JR spoke with Emma Hernández Ibarra and other Mathisa executives. As explained in the aforementioned publication, the super fine Mariposa pad is intended to offer greater comfort, since it is thinner and has a more compact super absorbent core in charge of gelatinizing the menstrual fluid.
She also clarifies that these pads are designed for a normal flow and a time of use of around three hours.
“Production depends on our current capacity, that is, a rate of 300 units per minute with a manual packaging system, which allows us to produce 3.6 to 3.8 million packages per month and no more” , she says.
These figures match the Cuban fertile population, so it is only possible to guarantee one package for each woman.
According to Hernández Ibarra, in 2017 the production of pads in the three factories of the country -one in the capital, which supplies the western region; one in Sancti Spíritus, in charge of the central provinces, and another in Bayamo, to supply eastern Cuba- was affected by the lack of essential raw materials.
“Eight of the ten raw materials needed to make them are imported from countries such as Spain, Italy and China, and only the packing and packaging material is found in the domestic market,” she says.
Due to the deficit of imported products, Mathisa, in turn, fail to meet its 2017 annual plan by ten percent and, although it managed to reduce the problems of distributing the entire product in stock, it will be impossible for the company to recover the production of the months in which the factories were stopped. “We do not have the capacity to produce what is necessary on a monthly basis and to make up for the delay on top of that.”
In response to this limitation, the National Hygienic-Sanitary Materials Company will begin a new “cycle” in 2018, which means that the women censored as of this month will get the pads for this year, but not those that remained pending in 2017, explained the Director General of Mathisa.
Yaimara Díaz Placeres, director of the UEB Almohadillas Mariposa Habana, explained that, in addition to the long-used machinery, the fluctuation of personnel also interferes with the quality of the process, since the quality control and package inspection activities are done manually, therefore, due to human errors, generally of personnel with little experience, defective packages are marketed.
In addition to Mariposa, Mathisa deputy director Mireyda Feris Tamayo explained, the company produces a discreet amount of the Petalos brand; the rest of the pads sold in Cuba are imported.
The concerns that women raise regarding the sanitary pads seem to accumulate, and for them there are still no definitive solutions, at least in the coming months, during which it only remains to expect that there will be no problems in the production or transportation of the Mariposa packages, and therefore, that at least we will get the 120 units that we are supposed to receive every year.
Also posted to Cubadebate:
TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: Wings are adhesive and are supposed to stick to the underwear so the pad stays put.
By Mileyda Menéndez Dávila
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
To banish gender violence from our lives, we must begin by accepting its multiple guises and propose worthy alternatives to everyday behaviors that normalize that scourge from male and female roles.
The violence that is externalized in public spaces against women, girls or other men according to their gender identity or sexual orientation, is barely ten percent of what occurs in an imperceptible way. It leaves no physical traces because it is exercised at the symbolic and psychological level, and is not denounced because it generates feelings of shame or disability. This is especially if the violent act comes from people who should guarantee us affection and protection.
Also influences the social tendency to tolerate other manifestations of violence reaffirmed through popular music and sporting events, the relaxation of the rules of coexistence or the misrepresentation of creeds that assume male supremacy as natural and necessary.
More than obeying
To modify this practice, it is necessary to understand the impact of intimidation on individual health and the well-being of society. Dozens of institutions investigate its causes and paths in Cuba, including the Institute of Legal Medicine, the Attorney General’s Office, the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex), the chairs of women, the Center for Women’s Studies and the Family, the Cuban Women’s Federation (FMC), the Center for Youth Studies and the Center for Psychological and Sociological Research.
The work of the Oscar Arnulfo Romero Reflection and Solidarity Group is an example of how Cuban civil society is also involved in the transformation of these lessons. Since 2007, that body has generated messages of public good that invite reflection on psychological violence, involving students and professionals of design, social communication, journalism and audiovisual media in the creative process.
This is how the Eres Más campaign was born, which, in addition to using traditional media circuits, occupies visible spaces in billboards and other media to reach all the municipalities in the country and make stereotypes problemmatic or to dismantle myths and macho customs.
Its main goal is to urge adult women of any race and origin to become aware of their rights and adapt the response to that aggression (subtle or obvious) that seeks to perpetuate the economic and sexual dominance of the masculine.
It also invites men to gradual change in beliefs and habits, in order to establish more equitable relationships from a spirituality committed to solidarity, plurality and participation.
More than resist
One campaign does not change the reality, but it makes the evil visible and appeals to feelings and principles to overcome the resistance to change of those who live with the abuse, although as they praise equal rights, sowing in the new generations those double standards, loaded with discriminatory prejudices .
Some patterns survive in our identity to such an extent that many people justify male violence unconsciously. Society is silent when the man controls or limits the woman, but is scandalized if it is she who tries to “put on pants” because that subverts the supposed natural order, and the same happens with the distribution of passive and active roles in homosexual couples .
Neither of the two extremes is right: It is necessary to educate ourselves in amorous dialogue to break such habitual mechanisms. It may also be necessary to seek legal or therapeutic help in the orientation centers for the woman and the family, the National Revolutionary Police, the Primary Health and the offices of attention to the citizen rights of the municipal Prosecutor’s Office.
The invitation to change is made: As a man, you can make the decision to try a different behavior, more respectful and consistent with your feelings. As a woman you have the challenge of suspending the legitimacy of violence, not allowing it in your environment or transmitting it uncritically to your children.
Do not accept being imposed on the road: build your reality according to your dreams and potentialities knowing that you are more, much more than what they make you see. You are not responsible for the suffocating behavior of significant men in your life (couple, father, brothers, colleagues, religious leaders, formal authorities), even if they try to justify centuries of patriarchal domination.
Day dedicated to youth
The main activities will take place in Las Tunas province from December 7 to 9. There will be held the National Meeting of the Platform of Cuban Men for Nonviolence and Gender Equity
Published Friday 01 December 2017 | 09:44:47 PM
The capital city of Tuesday 12 in the Mathematics Department of the University of Havana and will be dedicated to people with special needs, and their ability to love and enjoy the erotic without limitations
Author: Mariela Rodríguez Méndez
Masters in Clinical Psychology, counselor in STDs and HIV/AIDS and psychoanalyst
Posted: Friday 01 December 2017 | 09:46:58 PM
The confusion begins when I spend time without having sex with girls and I begin to get attention from men
JB: I’ve spent my whole life studying. That’s not why I stopped going out, having sex with girls and feeling good about them. The confusion begins when I spend time without having relationships with girls and I begin to draw attention to men … The problem is that I do not know if I’m gay or bisexual. I do not know in what direction my sexual orientation is. I am a 26 year old young man.
It’s better not to impose an answer that you still do not have. You must wait for experiences that allow you to distinguish your preference. You would have to define if you are only with men when you lack famale options or if you wish,in the first place, to be intimate with them, with women or both.
Sexual orientation is defined by preference; not by practices or conveniences. A person, due to multiple circumstances, can have sexual practices with people whom they do not prefer.
Homosexuality refers to the preference for people of the same sex, heterosexuality refers to the preference for people of the other sex and bisexuality supposes that they like with the same intensity people of both sexes, without being able to do without one or the other.
From what he says, until now he is doing well to be surprised by his experience. It is striking that he is not interested in being part of a couple and now he is worrying about an answer that would tie down his future decisions. Why define your orientation now? What good would it do to have that answer now? What else is going on?
By Kaloi Santos Cabrera
March 04, 2009 00:42:57 GMT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The festival “For you, Woman” will be held from the 6th -8th March concurring with the Cuban Women Federation 8th Congress.
The Young Communists League is giving the finishing touches to an extensive program called “For you, Woman”, to be held from the 6th – 8th of March, to entertain Cuban women in every corner of the country.
This festival, concurring with the sessions of the 8th Congress of the Cuban Women’s Federation that will take place Saturday and Sunday, will hold its main events at the Cuba Pavilion [in Havana]. It will start with a meeting of female soldiers. Participants will be young students from several military schools and the founders of the Feminine Anti-aircraft Artillery Regiment formed by Vilma Espin.
Similar meetings will take place this day with women of other fields, like education and science. An exhibition of famous Cuban heroines painted by Antonio Guerrero will also be shown. Similarly, the [Computer] Youth Clubs will present several multimedia, like “Celia, Butterfly of the Sierra”. Singer Ivette Cepeda and her group Reflection will close the day.
On Saturday, the meetings will be held with women from the cultural sector. Therefore, music, literature and art will seize the pavilion. Children from “Bebe Compañia” and from the “Cascabelito” choir will be two of the outstanding performances that day. The presentation of the literary anthology “Spaces in the Island, 50 years of women’s stories in Cuba” and the opening of a collective exhibition of paintings from 17 artists are also included. The vocal group “Zamba” has been announced for the evening concert,
On Sunday, it’s the International Woman’s Day and the debut of our baseball team in the II Baseball World Classic. So, the main event will be a meeting with great national sporting figures. Other important events will be the performances of the Ballet of the L y 19 school, of the “Nene Traviesa” Children’s Company, and of the project “JADE” of the “Hemanos Saiz” Association.
During these three days, Pavilion Cuba will also provide food and hairdressing services and CDs, books, and craft sales in local currency.
By Alina Perera and Yailin Orta
March 8, 2009 00:39 GMT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
To be a woman with spread wings; to be One and not to lose the charm and tenderness inherent in one, in this island…it’s a tough job. Don’t be frightened, reader: the authors of this article are no hard-core stubborn upholders of women’s liberation excluding indispensable male companionship. We do not uphold the statement: “foolish men who accuse women without reason…”
If we look at things more profoundly, more justly, we have to admit that despite everything, Cuban women have gained, in the maelstrom of a revolution that has never stopped thinking about them, there are still bonds that tie them down. From these bonds, as old as the human species, a patriarchal vision stems forth, silent as a ghost.
“To run on a par with the wolves, they have to pay the price”, confessed an anthropologist who studies the history of feminism in Cuba. And now, in light of the Congress of the Cuban Women Federation (FMC), we wondered about how women in our society, where discrimination against women is not legitimate, face a cultural challenge. Granted women and men are different, But, why do they have to assume life’s responsibilities so inequitably?
This is a fascinating issue that concerns us all. Hence, we went in search of voices to help us think about the reality of women in Cuba today. And, on the path walked by the Federation; born in 1960 when huge gaps between men and their partners had to be closed.
The cost of advancement
“Living in these times is difficult, both for women and men,” said Ivette Vega Hernández, editor of the magazine “Muchacha”, published by “Editorial de la Mujer”.
She could not ignore the impact of the distressing blockade that gravitates over our daily life: “The FMC has denounced it in international forums. It has done so, thinking about the great toll it is for women to assume roles historically assigned to them. When a woman occupies minutes from her working time worrying about the food she needs to cook, it is time taken from her work. Besides being good professionals, they feel they must also be good at home”.
And, this is not wrong. What’s wrong is that only women are concerned with such issues. The pattern seems cloned in the younger generations, said Ivette Vega: “It is common in high schools that girls, to meet the expectations of their partners, take on the responsibility of managing and taking care of the weekly groceries, or washing clothes. Disparities are not changed by a stroke of a pen; they pass through the individual conscience of each human being. Change is costly because it means getting rid of more than five or six hundred years of patriarchal culture.”
In the eyes of specialists, women continue to function compelled by very old triggers. It is obvious that in many households, the times when the “weaker sex” requested permission to work “outside the home“ are over. But, Ivette Vega reflects, “now, there’s a deep silence when we get home, or there’s a disapproving expression on their faces when we open the door.”
There are other, more blatant, discriminatory signals, such as we find in “popular songs” that brand women as heartless thieves or greedy. As long as there are people that see us in this way, equal opportunity and social justice will not be achieved“, said the director of the magazine “Muchacha”.
And she gave us other examples to ponder: “If I have a brother and he works less than me at home simply because he’s male, justice has not been achieved. If I’m the one who has to be careful about having sex, and not him, the point of view is still lopsided. Because, becoming a father is something as serious and responsible as becoming a mother. “
There is a trend Ivette did not overlook: ‘When you move up the social pyramid, the number of women in leadership positions diminishes. Is it because they are no longer bold, decisive, and intelligent? No. Life changed them, and those that “get there” … What have they lost, what have they gained, what makes them suffer? And, if apparently they have not lost anything, what do they feel guilty of? What is the cost to pay if they fail to conform to the mother or wife cultural pattern expected of them? A truly revolutionary change is needed, because it is not enough for me to be present: we must be really there, without it being considered a heresy. “
To run or to flirt, with the wolves?
Without including the male point of view, this journalistic expedition would be incomplete. That is why we invited Julio Cesar Pages, Ph. D. in Historical Science and anthropologist, to contribute his point of view on this complex and sensitive issue. It’s an issue that triggers the most diverse views, and there’s always the risk of not being able to balance them.
“We are a country with high expectations, we have a large population of women with university and pre-university studies, we have achieved a great professional level, but ‘machismo’ survives as a cultural and educational label.
“Whereas our women have grown in their spiritual universe and in the professional world, our men have not done the same. We remain a gallant, but discriminatory society. I’d like to make clear that the ‘machismo’ discourse includes everyone. It is not just superficial, it’s a set of ideas profoundly embedded [in our consciousness].
“The challenge to overcome it can not be left solely to the FMC. It seems to me it lacks responsibility, if only those who are most vulnerable face it. It needs a social synergy in which all the institutions must work. The Federation must be the generator, but not the custodian of all the problems. “
Julio Cesar wanted to remind us that absent mothers and fathers are judged differently. Mothers who turn away from their children are downright disqualified. On the other hand, [absent] fathers are seen as wayward or judged simply as abiding by tradition.
“If a woman decides to run at a par with the wolves, it will be very difficult for her. She will probably be disqualified. Similarly, if a man isn’t dominant, he will definitively be disqualified and even run over by the competition,” stated the anthropologist. For him, it’s not easy to make educational talks coincide with day by day reality, among other reasons, because “we keep sticking to women without involving men.”
The mirage of equity
There are many traps, sometimes subtle snares, set on the road to equity. To sustain this idea, Julio Cesar Gonzalez suggested we examine how, when some women occupy positions in which they have to make important decisions, they tend to use certain communication codes used by men.
In this reflection, the Doctor of Historical Sciences says that “we cannot bring about equity without working on men’s perception of their masculinity. When we talk to some men about changing, they associate change with being weak.”
When referring to the history of women struggles for liberation, the interviewee noted that, due to their public success in the nineteenth century, men made progress. But, women went further because they questioned their essence. “For me as a social activist, the great challenge of the twenty-first century is to work with men and get them to influence others [men].”
– How do you feel people see you for studying issues such as masculinity?
-Sometimes I provoke skepticism. Some doubt me. “This man is missing something,” they sometimes think. But later, during the debate, people become passionate [with the subject]. So, I get a lot of solidarity. And many people come to me to tell me their most intimate conflicts.
Significance and dreams of a federation
To get to know the intricacies of the Federation, to get to be part of its National Directorate, was for Ivette Vega an opportunity to discover the transformative dimension of the Revolution on women. It’s a change that has been “much more inclusive than what might be dealt with in books. We speak of a job that has been difficult, systematic, and not always well understood.”
– What do you consider are the most immediate tasks the organization has to perform?
– I think the first challenge facing the FMC is to make the girls of the new generations understand fully, that conquered goals do not last per se, and if we fail to defend them, they can be lost.
“In the ’60s, most women had to the community as their sole political and social participation space.
Fifty years later, many young girls study in boarding schools; others work and have different responsibilities in other organizations. So, I think the biggest challenge for the FMC lies in getting the [Federation] to vibrate and to be felt strongly at the lower echelons. “
According to Ivette Vega, one of the weaknesses of the Federation is that few of the lower echelon delegations are headed by young women, who, incidentally, must be called upon attractively. They tend to have a greater presence at middle or higher echelons.
But despite all challenges, the objectives of the FMC are still valid because the primary purpose is to keep up the work of the Revolution. “
To make the organization look increasingly similar to the new generations is one of the cardinal horizons outlined by Lisa García Gayoso, legal adviser to the national FMC Community Work field and executive coordinator of the National Group for the Prevention and Treatment of Domestic Violence.
“We are privileged to have close to us women who were in the Federation since its inception. We have learned from them. There are objectives, laid down when the Federation was found, that are still valid, and that need to be transmitted to young women today in the language of 2009.
“We must make sure that young people see the organization as theirs, not only as the one born in 1960; that they see it as one that is fighting for what must be conquered now. Some equity has been achieved, but there are still dilemmas. We still have, for example, violence in some homes. And, I dare say that after the special period, with the intensification of economical difficulties in Cuban families, tensions have not diminished. ”
Moreover, according to Lisa, the organization has to divulge more and in a better way what it does, and work in specific ways with young women. The way it’s run is another key factor: “We have delegations that work very well, others not so much, and others that do not work at all. The latter ones are those in which people say, “The Federation [representatives] only comes here to collect fees “.
It is a weakness that must be corrected, because good performance guarantees our being able to attract the younger generation, especially in the communities where all kinds of women live: housewives, workers, students, and retired women.”
– What is the most exciting thing the organization offers to young women?
– There are things that have interested me a lot and that I first heard of when I arrived at FMC: they include humanity, simplicity and sensitivity. The Federation has been involved in many beautiful endeavors in this country. Few people know, for example, the great impulse given by the Federation to the current Family Code. It was created, partly because of the impetus given it by Vilma and the FMC, to restructure the concept of motherhood and fatherhood. And so that men could share all family roles equally with their wives.
”The FMC participates in programs that help those who neither study nor work. It helps in schools, day care centers, and homes for children without parental care. There are many social endeavors unknown to the young people. There are the Counseling Houses for Women and Families where we can ask for counsel in any kind of situation. “
Julio Cesar Gonzalez has no doubt that the Federation is “an important organization, which needs and deserves the solidarity of other social organizations. It is badly needed, because until we have equity between women and men, many federations will be needed.
“The FMC reaches the most distant and difficult places; it travels into the family, and it does so by activism. Women are the ones who mobilize for any public good campaign. “
Norma Vasallo Barrueta, president of the Women’s Chair at the University of Havana, Ph. D. in Pedagogical Sciences and Senior Professor of the Psychology Faculty, said that the Federation needs to diversify the work it carries out today. It should be diverse corresponding to the different interests of its addressees. “If it were more active and rewarding, it would achieve plenty of results.”
Maité López Peña, a promotion and media official of the FMC in Havana, is confident that the organization must “work more with young women at the lowest echelon, and also be more operational. We must do more to reach housewives who have no other links. The work must be individualized, because all young women do not have the same interests. We must find areas where they feel motivated. “
The difficult art of existence
”No one can doubt,” Norma Vasallo said, “the rising significant presence women have in the public world of Cuban reality. But, parallel to the evolution of their social involvement, a partial stagnation of their private and domestic life has resulted. And this not only happens in Cuba.
“The feminist movement has had significant achievements in the twentieth century, meaningfully expressed in labor market participation and different levels of education. But, women are still the ones mainly responsible for household tasks and in Cuba these tasks require more time, more dedication. “
This specialist said Cuban women, because they work in the social and domestic fields, have a double shift. Because of everyday shortages, it often turns into two and a half shifts, which means a 20 hour work day.
“The other thing that is a reality in Cuba is the need to care for the elderly at home. This is another task that tradition has assigned to women. In our country, we already know, population is aging. Therefore, it’s peremptory to think about creating institutions that help women. So they don’t have to give up their professions, when they are still in full possession of their faculties, to care for their loved ones full time. “
The Ph. D. in Psychological Sciences touched yet another abrasive issue, that of gender violence; the one, women suffer in social spaces. She recalled how some institutions prefer to hire young and beautiful women; and that harassment on the street is such, those of the “weaker sex” will wind up needing space suits to go out.
“Violence against women is also emotional, -she added- psychological, and even economic. Economic violence can be enforced when women are dependent on the man’s salary, or when it’s his house, and he uses this as blackmail. These are realities that are with us, which we must be disassemble and denounce, because if they are seen as natural, we are at risk of making them almost legitimate.
There are women who, as a result of years of patriarchal culture, can be more ‘macho’ than men, said Lisa Garcia Gayoso. The social authority we have gained sometimes cracks when we cross our front doors inwards, and we limit our partner’s help with domestic chores. For example, were we born with a sign in our foreheads saying ‘I’m the one who cooks’? How many times do we come home at night to find our husband watching TV and our son hasn’t taken a bath yet?”
Thinking of the future, we can not expect our society to be better tomorrow, if at home the son is seeing that Dad is doing nothing and Mom is the orchestra- woman. When that child grows up, he will repeat the pattern he has learned.
Let’s meditate together on this. Without having to experience arguments like the following, this is a true story:
– There is a lot of ‘machismo’- says the female subordinate to the male boss. And he says: “What we have is a lot of ‘womanism’.” She is struck dumb at the new word. And he continues: “Yes, a plague of women who want to boss us around.” And so, in this case, it’s a dialogue between two deaf persons, biting its tail, without hope for solutions that would provide wise balance.
By Marianela Martín and Alina Perera
March 8, 2009 00:58:49 GMT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Vilma’s voice is being projected across the room and large screens show images of her during distinct moments of her life. In her loving tone, she speaks of the privilege of being a woman in Cuba. Like Fidel she has been a faithful promoter of our conquests.
Minutes later, young women in uniform bring Vilma’s guerilla outfit and her pistol closer to the stage, symbols that prevail during the sessions of the 8th Congress of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC).
These were the first moments of the most important meeting of Cuban women, which ended on Sunday in Havana’s Convention Palace. The inaugural session on Saturday afternoon include the presence of the First Vice President of the Council of State and Ministers, José Ramón Machado Ventura, the Moncada Heroine, Melba Hernández, the founder of the Federation and Vilma’s comrade from the clandestine struggle and the Sierra Maestra, Asela de los Santos Tamayo, and the mothers, wives, and sons of our five compatriots unjustly imprisoned in U.S. jails for fighting terrorism.
In the meeting, where almost half of the delegates were born after 1959, the secretary general of the FMC, Yolanda Ferrer Gómez, displayed confidence in the women who will provide continuity to the life of the organization.
“Cuban women will never return to the oppressive past”, the member of the Party’s Central Committee affirmed. She repeated something that Vilma said and which Fidel has always praised: women have to put up a fight for life and the Revolution alongside their male comrades.
Especially moving was the proposal to place an image of combatant Vilma in front of the logo on the Federation’s flag. The delegates raised their hands in a sign of approval and afterwards a young woman declared that the face of this exceptional woman will be an incentive for women to become members of and take an active part in the organization’s endeavors.
Reading a summery of the Central Report to the Congress, Yolanda Ferrer emphasized that Cuban women are a «true army», in which the precepts conceived of by Vilma for the full liberation of women have taken root.
The Secretary General of the Federation acknowledged that the organization has become stronger and its membership base has grown. It has identified the most important challenges for women, developed and promoted educational and preventative programs, taken part in the tasks of the Energy Revolution, defended the incorporation of women into the work force, and decided on the modification of cardinal laws for the country, among other achievements.
“This, our first Congress of the 21st century, serves to consolidate what has been achieved” Yolanda Ferrer stated. She said that even though the FMC has advanced, it continues face challenges. The organization must improve the politics of cadres; achieve the smooth functioning and liveliness of each section of the Federation; work in a multifaceted manner in order to attend to individualities; make it so that the organization is felt in every community; energetically confront all the symptoms of corruption; and revolutionize content and ways of organizing.
During the first day, the delegates also approved the suggestion of the National Secretary to not fill the position of the President of the FMC in the future and for it remain symbolically in the hands of compañera Vilma Espín as a tribute to her.
From woman to woman.
In the morning, there were reflections by commissions dealing with cadre politics and the operation of the organization, ideological work, the formation of values, the defense of the country, international solidarity work, the participation of the women in the economy, community and preventative work, and the fight for equality and the promotion of women.
This last subject provoked multiple people to express their ideas, among which was the need to go beyond analysis that refers only to men and to women when it should be about equality.
According to the delegate’s criterion, it’s necessary to add other variables that display the principal areas where inequality is generated in Cuba today. How do the families depend on women’s economic contribution in the home? How does subjectivity function depending on the social group to which a person pertains?
Only if we see the Cuban reality as something heterogeneous and contradictory, a female member alerted, will our ways of doing politics be more effective.
Another concern expressed in the commission was in reference to the importance of respecting the diversity of preferences among human beings. This principal applied to the area of sexuality, which, according to more than one voice in the Congress, is the antidote to prejudices and discriminatory attitudes.
One woman requested that we not forget that behind each person that has sexual preferences, to which we either are or are not accustomed, there is someone who has feelings and can struggle together with us.
The director of the Cuban National Center of Sexual Education (CENESEX), Mariela Castro Espín, said in a reflection about the challenges of achieving equality that in some ways we are returning to the 1970s, when at the height of the Second Congress of the Federation, women asked for sexual orientation for their children so that they did not repeat the same errors that they had.
“We return to those problems, although with a dialectical focus – Mariela said –; gender violence is not longer as explicit; the bad keeps reducing but it does not disappear, which is why we must keep working intelligently”.
The director of CENESEX posed a question for all to ponder: How does a woman that has governmental, administrative, and political responsibilities live? With how many contradictions? “This is a problem whose solution can be found in the joint work of men and women”.
To envisage, the curative attitude of José Martí, was in the spirit of the delegates that participated in the commission, where they spoke about efforts in the community and in educational settings where it is possible to deeply confront attitudes that lessen the moral health of the nation.
Lázara Mercedes López Acea, member of the Secretariat of the Party’s Central Committee emphasized that good intentions are not enough for deploying effective preventative work: its necessary to prepare oneself. If direct attention for children and youth is important to the Federation, it’s cardinal to provide guidance to the organization’s social workers who work closely with families.
The organization’s impact in homes, in the School Councils, in its projects like the Courses of Integral Advancement for Youth, and in all of the key spaces for the education of new generations was highlighted by Lázara Mercedes. When one speaks about prevention, she said, one must always do it with infinite reserve, which the FMC has in its work with the human being.
What woman can do
In 2000, Aida Leonor Oro Lau, director of the company Inejiro Asanuma Holguin Spinning Mill, suffered an accident that caused her to lose her right hand, but did not weaken her desire to work. Now «left-handed by force», she admits, the initiatives arising from her are countless and go beyond giving orders or singing papers.
This Saturday, among delegates of the 8th Congress of the FMC analyzing the participation of women in the Cuban economy, Aida Leonor brought up the epidemic sadness that the hurricanes left in Hoguin, also known as the city of parks.
“Of my workers, 171 suffered damage to their homes and 41 were left without a place to live. The factory had to take on, amidst the chaos, the production of food for these workers and also form a strategy so that absenteeism would not affect production plans.”
With this Cuban woman in charge, operating one thread winding machine, 57,000 hours of voluntary work were done and the plans were completed.
Aida took over this company in 1992. At that time, the center suffered from shortages and the exodus of many workers. Coming from the standpoint that willpower is more powerful than the available consumables, she had the intention of diversifying products to temporarily ride it out.
With a 40 year-old sowing machine that belonged to the center and three female workers, they began to make pillows. Later the workshop grew with the obtainment of 8 of these machines and with the reclamation of the movement Sewing at Home, which the Federation promoted.
Thanks to this initiative, the factory sold 224,000 dollars worth of products at TRD stores last year, and in 2009 its sales will reach $314,000, almost 36% of which the company will pay to the state. The company envisages producing thread for textile products made in the country, including the production of antiseptic tape.
Aida spoke in the commission about replacing imports with national products and that national industry must recover its reliability. In the same discussion, Odalys Álvarez from Pinar del Rio requested that the FMC more rigorously to demand that companies pay based on results because not doing so weakens women’s incorporation in the workplace.
Audit and Control Minister Gladys Bejerano called for the creation a culture of control and prevention. She was an invited guest at the 8th Congress and spoke about the presence of women in the economic life of the country, where they have not only spread intelligent ideas but have also known how to confront corruption and other illegalities using their talent of persuasion and love.
The Federal Court of Salta Province rejected the application for habeas corpus in favor of her release
January 23, 2016 10:45:00 CDT
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The Argentina Member of Parlasur, Milagro Sala, leader of the Tupac Amaru social organization, will remain detained in Jujuy (north), after the Federal Court of Salta Province rejected the application for habeas corpus in favor of her release, reported Telesur.
The ruling came as part of a national day of demonstrations in which politicians, unions and social movements demanded Sala’s release
Defense lawyers for the Parlasur deputy said they were not surprised by the decision of the Federal Court of Salta and are waiting for the resolution of the cessation of detention on which the trial judge, Gaston Mercau must rule before next Tuesday, the date on which procedural deadlines expire.
Organizations defending human rights believe that Sala is a political prisoner who must be released.
“We are facing a clear attempt to criminalize practices related to the exercise of the right to protest and freedom of expression,” said Mariela Belski, executive director of Amnesty International Argentina.
The Tupac Amaru Argentina organization, social unions and political parties launched a day of protest on Friday with roadblocks and streets in different parts of the country, to demand the release of indigenous leader Milagro Sala, and to defend 66,000 Cooperative jobs nationwide.
Parlasur deputy and leader of the Tupac Amaru organization, Milagro Sala, was arrested last Saturday at her home in the capital of the province of Jujuy, after a raid.
She was taken to the police station for Women under an order by judge Raul Gutierrez, after being charged with alleged “incitement to commit crimes and riots in real competition.”
Several weeks ago, the leader set up camp in front of the Government of Jujuy to reject the restructuring of the distribution of subsidies to cooperatives raised by the new government of Gerardo Morales, an ally of the Cambiemos party of president Mauricio Macri.
23 de Enero del 2016 10:45:00 CDT
La diputada argentina al Parlasur, Milagro Sala, líder de la organización social Tupac Amaru, seguirá detenida en Jujuy (norte), luego de que la Cámara Federal de la provincia de Salta rechazara la solicitud de hábeas corpus a favor de su liberación, reportó Telesur.
El fallo se dio en el marco de una jornada nacional de manifestaciones en la que movimientos políticos, sindicales y sociales exigen la liberación de Sala.
Los abogados defensores de la diputada al Parlasur manifestaron que no les sorprendió el fallo de la Cámara Federal de Salta y que esperan por la resolución del cese de detención sobre la que el juez de la causa, Gastón Mercau, debe manifestarse antes del martes próximo, fecha en la que vencen los plazos procesales.
Organismos defensores de los derechos humanos consideran que Sala es una prisionera política que debe ser liberada.
“Estamos frente a un claro intento de criminalizar las prácticas relacionadas con el ejercicio del derecho a la protesta y a la libertad de expresión”, dijo Mariela Belski, directora ejecutiva de Amnistía Internacional Argentina.
La organización argentina Tupac Amaru, sindicatos sociales y partidos políticos iniciaron este viernes una jornada de protesta con cortes de rutas y calles, en diferentes puntos del país, a fin de reclamar la liberación de la líder indígena, Milagro Sala, y defender los 66 mil empleos de cooperativas en toda la nación.
La diputada del Parlasur y dirigente de la organización Tupac Amaru, Milagro Sala, fue detenida el pasado sábado en su residencia ubicada en la capital de la provincia de Jujuy, tras un allanamiento.
Sala fue trasladada a la comisaría de la Mujer bajo una orden del juez Raúl Gutiérrez, luego de ser imputada por supuesta «instigación a cometer delitos y tumultos en concurso real».
Hace varias semanas, la dirigente instaló un campamento frente a la Gobernación de Jujuy para rechazar el reordenamiento de la distribución de subsidios a cooperativas planteadas por el nuevo gobierno de Gerardo Morales, aliado del partido Cambiemos del presidente Mauricio Macri.