Friday, March 27, 2015

El Día de la Mujer at the Family Support Center in Llanos del Pinal

International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8th.  Although in many ways it looks a lot like Mother's Day or Valentine's Day in Xela, the history and purpose of International Women's Day is entirely separate and distinct.  There is much more of a human rights and political focus.

To mark the occasion, we held related two International Women's Day activities at the Family Support Center in Llanos del Pinal.  The first Friday of every month Carmencita and I meet with the mothers of the children and youth who attend the Family Support Center.  The meeting serves as both the project mothers meeting and the Llanos del Pinal scholarship meeting.

Mothers and staff in the monthly meeting

This month we met on Friday March 6th and discussed International Women's Day.  Throughout the previous week, the children and youth prepared posters and answered questions about equality and the reality of women's lives in Guatemala.  We talked about work, different types of violence, and which women (in addition to their mothers) the kids admire.

The children and youth presented their posters during the kids activity on Thursday March 5th and we discussed their answers and ideas both days.

¿En que puede trabajar una mujer?  What types of work do women do?
During the mother's meeting we shared the posters again and told the mothers what we learned from the children and youth.  We even dipped into the very Guatemalan phenomenon of "reinados."  There's a beauty contest and competition to be the queen of anything and everything you can imagine in Guatemala.  In large cities and tiny villages alike.

When asked what types of work women do, the kids immediately said that women work in the home, taking care of their families.  However they also said women are teachers, social workers, doctors, and nurses.  Their understanding of women's work is expanding in part due to the presence of Pop Wuj--where we employ women in all of these positions.

In these activities we see the importance of getting the kids and the mothers talking--and not just about flowers and wishing each other "Happy Women's Day."  We are talking about issues and situations that are often considered "normal" or "typical" in Guatemala.  We want to create a more just and equal society in Guatemala that values women and men and their contributions.

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