These are lines written from isolation. When we started this column in January 2020, we had no idea how the world would turn in the following months. We could not foresee the new regulations that the pandemic would impose, nor the number of interviews that we would do through WhatsApp audios. We also did not know – although we are still scared how quickly they were installed – the new challenges that covid-19 would imply for women around the world.
After all, through the pandemic and isolation, during the last two years various organizations have registered an increase in gender-based violence within homes and on networks, an overload of domestic and care work for women, as well as tensions in sexual and reproductive health services that should be available to all, among other conflicts. Cuba has not been on the sidelines
In any case -and as in so many other things in life- the virus in question has also been a constant in this weekly appointment to talk about gender. Now, to whom we write these Letters… It has touched us closer than ever, and because of being mother and daughter, it came to us at the same time. But entering 2022 isolated at home served us, at least, to take stock of what the column was throughout its second year, of the main issues addressed in it, of the alliances achieved, of everything that remained to be done. .
When it comes to gender, the last twelve months have been intense for Cuba. Not only was a greater visibility of the various forms of latent violence and micro-machismo still present in our society of patriarchal heritages confirmed, but these issues often became targets for controversial debates on social networks. Fortunately, the times of the pandemic were also a boost for various government initiatives, projects, and actions that culminated in the approval of the National Program for the Advancement of Women and a Comprehensive Strategy for the care and prevention of gender-based violence. . In addition, we note a greater presence of these issues in several media outlets.
Meanwhile, from this space in Cubadebate we try to be faithful to the marked commitment to reflect, once a week, on how the thousand and one issues of daily life impact women, men and also people of different sexual orientation differently. , gender identity, or are diverse in many other ways.
Did we manage to take the pulse of a country where debates on equality and inclusion were more present than before? Not always. But we tried. The various manifestations of violence and the strategies for its prevention, the challenge that care work implies, the new Family Code, the debates around harassment and abuse, the gender gaps that still persist and the treatment of these themes in diverse cultural proposals were part of our deliveries.
At the beginning of 2021, we consulted specialists from various fields and listed the main challenges that the Island should face in terms of gender. At that time, the experts referred as burning points the responsibility of care tasks, with overload for women; the empowerment gaps derived from the economic order, including the possible impact on employment; the comprehensive and integrated system of attention to sexist violence; the process of debate and approval of the Family Code; attention to early unions and teenage pregnancy and the myths and stereotypes that hinder equality.
In a certain way, we managed to correspond to the agenda marked by those guidelines. Although there is still much to do. According to our count, during 2021 we published 45 works and among the most discussed issues were the care and prevention of the various manifestations of gender violence, the challenges associated with the new family legislation, the distribution of care tasks, the gaps and latent gender roles in many economic sectors, social and cultural and some of the feminist activism projects that are articulated in the country to dismantle stereotypes.
In addition, we talk about the setbacks for women in Afghanistan, symbolic violence, rurality; of COVID-19, isolations and their impacts; of the rights of the LGBTIQ community and of communication. We also reflected on what it really means to be feminists, on social networks and influencers and there were even spaces for the Tokyo Olympics.
At the edge of 2020 we envisioned a space “to think and dream”, where the personal “was political” and where criticism, many reflections and also solutions coexisted. And we saw it as a shared exercise, because If we have learned anything, it is that there are many ways to know oneself and behave as feminists. In this 2021 that is gone, we also took some small steps on that path towards a more plural proposal. Thus, we share credits and reflections with other colleagues or “lend” the column for other approaches to that heterogeneous reality in which we live.
Two years later, at 96 Letters… on our backs, the responses of dozens of specialists on our pages and hundreds of comments received, we recognize that It has not always been easy to maintain this weekly space. Sometimes work and family commitments have put us against the wall and in others, the micromachismos with which we collide daily -also between the reactions to our space- have threatened to defeat us. As we said that increasingly distant first time, “dismantling stereotypes and uprooting the myths that limit us” continues to be “more important than ever”.
The patriarchal culture, transmitted from generation to generation, continues to mark women’s relationships with society and prejudice, violence and machismo often come into our lives, into our section. But we don’t get tired, the challenges are there and we insist on revealing them. We keep opening violet umbrellas.