The Multi-sector Group in Tierra Nueva 1 and Tierra Nueva 2 prepared this statement for International Women’s Day 2016. On our Flickr site, you can see photos of the Women’s Day march in Guatemala City, in which this group participated.
Multi-sector Group for a Culture of Peace and Responsible Motherhood and Fatherhood
On International Women’s Day
On the eve of March 8, in celebration of International Women’s Day, we, the women of Tierra Nueva believe that it is important to reflect on the role of women in our communities, given that we have not yet managed to become the authors of our own stories. We think it is important to mention that in a number of stories in the gospel, Jesus interacts with women in need. Jesus relates to each woman and treats each woman with dignity and returns her to herself. These acts do not happen in private or hidden from view. These acts are public and carried out in the light of day. When the value of each woman is not sufficiently recognized or is misinterpreted, Jesus takes on the task of revealing her worth to others. For example in Luke 7, in the story of the “public sinner”, the woman’s actions are misinterpreted. She does not talk about or explain her actions but Jesus gives her actions words, brings them to light, and interprets them in order to give them their true meaning and to highlight the woman’s strength, importance, and worth.
We should think about the women how have been raped and murdered, and remember that many of the survivors have lived in silence through the pain of abuse. This is the experience of the women who were raped and later filed the Sepur Zarco case – this case represents a firm step forward toward justice and serves as a memorial for Magdalena Pop [one of the witnesses who died before the trial, but left her testimony on record]. We honor all women throughout the world who have suffered violence, especially in the wake of the recent murder of Berta Cáceres, a Honduran activist who worked for environmental protection and conservation, who was shot on the morning of March 4.
Violence and discrimination against women are ongoing in the workplace, social situations, and the family. This will continue to be a challenge for us – we will continue to demand that our dignity and our equality be returned to us, as demonstrated by Jesus.
Authorities and social organizations have shown their interest in promoting women’s participation in public office and citizen participation. They have passed laws, established norms, and set up programs to benefit women, in order to erase inequality, protect our rights, and promote development.
Nevertheless, there are common practices that continue today. For instance, men often want women to stay at home to take care of them and their children, carrying out domestic chores. Men fear that if women work outside the home they might find a new partner. Women do not make the decision in this case, because this has already been established as the norm by society. Within the nuclear family, they are taught from the time they are little girls that this is normal and they should accept the situation.
We need to help. We need to fight indifference. We have to stop thinking, “this is not my problem.” We should reflect on the worth we have as human beings and start by loving ourselves, recognizing that we are people with human rights in equality and equity.
Violence is not natural. It cannot be justified for any reason. It is not fair, no matter who it comes from. This includes insults, beatings, disrespect, humiliation, discrimination, and attempts to make us do something against our will and freedom to act.
We believe self-esteem is important for the elderly, middle-aged adults, youth, adolescents, and girls. We should all be conscious of this, like Jesus was, and build relationships based on equality. No one should be a victim of the violation of their rights, however normal a woman’s lack of rights may seem to others.
Self-esteem depends on how often we consider our self-worth, and how we let others in our lives decide our self-worth. Many times, as women, we give the people we love power over our lives, using this to (unsuccessfully) compensate for our low self-esteem. We give others the sole right to decide our worth, to the point that we only see ourselves through others’ eyes. We give them the right to judge, to the point that we judge ourselves from that perspective. We give them freedom, to the point that we become slaves. We give them the right to make decisions, to the point that we are left without free will. Certainly, this is not the same for all women or in all relationships – we are generalizing.
For these reasons, we say that it is time to take the reins in our lives. It is time to rise above women! Choose to live out your own dreams. It is time to take ownership of your own life and educate your children about equality and equity. It is time to act and be happy.
We invite you to join us on March 8 for the walk that will start at the Supreme Court of Justice and end at the National Palace. We will leave Tierra Nueva at 7:15am. The bus will start in front of the Catholic Church Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tierra Nueva 2, and will make a stop at the Health Center in Tierra Nueva 1 to pick up those who will join at that point. Wear a white shirt and visor and bring water.