Notes for a 23rd of August

 It is enough to look at our daughters to understand. It is not only the beauty in them that moves our essence as mothers; it is the freedom, the irreverence, the gift of creating and taking risks. We don’t want to raise women who are only defined by their obedience, their housemaking abilities, and their care for the appearance.

We are looking for other values: that they are capable, feisty, happy adults. We want them to be able to choose, without restraint or coercion, to decide about their lives.

We also aspire that instead of always fighting to be respected, they should always be respected as human beings.

That is why we also wish to raise sons who see their sisters as equals, and all women as partners, who do not need to be served, who do not believe they have the right to violate.

The road is slow and tortuous, uneven. Sometimes there are setbacks. ButHowever, the progress towards equity is unobjectionable. From generation to generation, patriarchy ceases to be an oppressive and all-powerful mechanism because of its invisibility; it reveals itself to us in its great instruments of control and in the pernicious micromachisms.

The unjust framework is shaken every time mothers and fathers decide to better themselves and form better people; and when men and women give up some privilege obtained due to stereotypes and unfair distribution of roles, in order to reinvent ourselves and move forward.

Whatever much is achieved, more remains to be done on this path, but the struggle is not fruitless. If issues such as the murder of a woman at the hands of a man, because of machismo or misogyny (that is, because he can) generate a profound debate and concern in Cuba, it is because they have worked hard throughout the decades of the Revolution to narrow the gender gap, and this has permeated the awareness.

August 23 is an opportune date to talk about struggles, because it has been the fate of the Federation of Cuban Women. Hailing from a tradition of tremendous women who stood up to the Spanish soldier in the colony and fought for the right to suffrage and divorce in the Republic, and against the dictatorship in the underground and the Sierra, the Federation took on all the battles that needed to be won against gender discrimination.

Today it continues to make visible and to fight, because its capacity to mobilize and manage policies is necessary for problems such as teenage pregnancy, the unequal domestic burden, femicides, and the violation of sexual and reproductive rights, among others.

We must also remember this August 23 that, as Vilma Espín Guillois said, “socialism for Cuban women has meant freedom, independence, sovereignty, dignity, social justice, security for the formation and development of children, the right to equality, to life, to decide one’s own destiny, to work for the dreamed future and to defend it with all our strength.”

And, likewise, that “we understand that the achievement of full equality within the family and our society is only possible in this system,”

source: Granma English

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