Statement released by the Mesa Multisectorial por la Cultura de Paz y la Maternidad y Paternidad Responsable, a community-based coalition in Chinautla
Reflecting on the lives of girls, adolescents and women in our community, we wish to express our deep concern about certain situations that undermine our human rights and pose a threat to our lives.
Our predicament as women is increasingly alarming. Force is accepted as a last resort or sometimes as habit when the acceptance of violence is internalized as part of the culture and therefore of the way we justify our actions. This contributes to a violent society in which we face ongoing threats.
Child abuse. Although child protection laws exist and people are beginning to accept their responsibility to report physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, there are still many cases that remain unreported because everyone knows about the abuse but nobody dares to speak out.
Teenage mothers. In Tierra Nueva every day we hear about pregnant girls. We also see that families, government institutions, and NGOs are often indifferent toward teenage pregnancies or they accept teenage pregnancies as normal. Not many actions are taken, with the argument that we need to accept the situation and the young women need to mature and learn to assume responsibility. The young women are sometimes also forced to take responsibility as wives and housewives. Their holistic development and their rights to health and education are ignored. Adolescent mothers and fathers need comprehensive support in order to ensure the well-being of their families. We support the proposed Law in Observance of Reproductive Health, which includes a ban on child marriages. Marriage should be a conscious and mature decision made in the interest of family well-being and not an obligation to correct errors.
Adult women continue to face violence in all its manifestations, within the home, in communities, and in our wider society. Impunity, human rights violations, and the authorities’ slow legal process only mock the well-intentioned laws passed in favor of women. Achieving equity and gender equality remains a challenge, and we need community organizations working for empowerment to take further action.
The workplace. We face discrimination and it is difficult to find a job, for older women and single mothers in particular. When young women are hired, they often face compromising conditions, including requirements like wearing heavy makeup or tight, low-cut uniforms that are not appropriate for the weather. Many women must accept these conditions. Working hours and wages are also problematic. Conditions often violate women’s right to health, especially during pregnancy; or women are given work only for as long as they don’t get pregnant. Not getting hired or facing discrimination due to their physical condition forces many women to stay thin and young-looking in places that promote chauvinistic and sexist practices and use women as bait for attracting customers.
Child labor. We continue to see young girls on the street as vendors or as victims of the sex trade. The state remains indifferent, even though it should protect people and their rights.
Elderly women. The years pass quickly for women who have dedicated their lives to their husband, children, and grandchildren. In many cases, after their children have grown up, when their husband dies, women are left alone. Elderly women face discrimination, marginalization, homelessness and neglect, and they are sometimes treated as less valuable in their homes. Extreme poverty forces them to submit to forced labor without pay or to work as domestic servants.
Women that suffer from a mental or physical disability also face inequality. Their rights to health and a family are often violated. There are women currently living on the street behind the sports hall in our community. They live with devaluation, marginalization, and neglect. The government fails to comply with its obligations to protect and safeguard the human rights of these women.
- It’s time to empower ourselves, to change, to stand up and speak out.
- Women are strong in will, actions, feelings, and reason.
- Not strong like a rock, but strong like the lioness, caring and nursing their pups.
- Women are human beings able to think with the heart, act with reason and overcome with love.
- As women, we are and will be bent on fighting until we are recognized as human beings with equal rights.
- As women, we will continue to fight to contribute to this society by promoting fairness and fundamental human values.
- Women are worthy and important in our society and we can do any job we want to do.
NO TO VIOLENCE, DISCRIMINATION, IMPUNITY.
YES TO LIFE WITH RESPECT AND DIGNITY.