Young woman selling peanuts.

Circulating in the media these days is a United Nations report on Latin American women. In it concerns are expressed about domestic violence, equality with regards to work opportunities, and the liberation of the gender.

To my way of thinking, little has been achieved in this regard in my country since the forties, when Cuban women had an active and important participation in our society: philosophers, teachers, doctors in teaching, medical and writers marked the forefront of a gender that increasingly occupied a more prominent place in society of those times.

In real life, the Cuban woman today, is far from having been liberated: all the intentions have not come to pass, they are, as we would say, a dead letter. On the contrary, women’s obligations and difficulties have increased. A strong economy is one of the principle pillars on which true liberation rests.

The lack of paying jobs along, where people can live decently, without having to undertake extracurricular tasks to augment a bit their squalid salaries, the lack of conditions in the home and in the social sphere that ease domestic chores (which currently waste a great deal of time), plus all the difficulties of travel, buying food and other necessities, means that the Cuban woman carries on her shoulders almost the entire weight of the home: she is in charge of making the family meals, taking and picking up the children from their schools or daycare, overseeing their homework, caring for elderly relatives living with the family, caring for her husband, in-laws and other relatives.

She does not have time to look after herself, her health, she has to depend on the ration book to obtain monthly feminine supplies, and she faces menopause lacking vitamins, creams and medications to help her through this difficult stage.

The best jobs continue to be the almost exclusive patrimony of men. This, not to mention that in our country precisely because of the above, the vast majority of marriages fail, which lamentably puts us in the top position with regards to statistics of divorce. The majority of our women are divorced or separated, facing all the work of the home alone. These frustrations and accumulated stresses carry within them a contained violence, that for any casual reason can serve as a detonator for domestic violence, where one can be the victim or victimizer.

We can’t speak of women’s liberation until society is structured and run in such a way that the conditions actually exist to be able to count on the necessary facilities needed to meet obligations outside of work, without it causing a deterioration in the personal or in the family.

July 9 2011

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