Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I studied Information Science with a major in journalism at the Complutense University of Madrid. I don’t really know why I choose this area of study and not another since women around me and the same age as me where all choosing nursing or teaching and, to be honest I didn’t really know what this was about. Many years after, I started a second cycle of studies with Comparative Literature at the University of Extremadura and end up not finishing it. I was disappointed at the university system at the time that was more based on class attendance and memory retention than on shared learning. My first job was at HOY where the director at the time assured he did not want women as part of his staff.
After that I wrote for the Cope, Hoja del Lunes and El País, in Badajoz where we used to live.
After that opposition, I became part of the Spanish National Radio. Once the territorial center of TVE in Extremadura opened I requested a transfer and went to the Information Unit of Cáceres where I have worked for 24 years until I left with early retirement.
My job has allowed me to be in all kind of environments without the need of really fitting in and sometimes it has been coincident that has marked my journalistic work, the luck of finding myself in the right place at the right time. One great example was when I was on holidays in Washington D.c. as the attack in the Twin Towers in New York happen: as the air communications closed I stayed there longer than expected and the company sent me to Pennsylvania first and then to New York to support the local team who were not very for the magnitude of the event. A few days letter, Letizia Ortiz, as a RTVE reporter arrived. After a while it was known she was going to marry the prince of Spain and we laughed a lot with the situation as a friend commented: “If she is going to be the queen, Elisa, you are an Empress because you were here before”.
I have been the first women president (in the area I live in) for the Association of Jornalists of Cáceres, have written a book, as co-author with Marce Solís, for the Official School of the Ministry of Industry. It is titled ‘Cultural Management: Opportunities and Employment Opportunities’ and is mainly for the master students of this school. The preparation of this study, took me throughout the country for one year in order to interview 15 entrepreneurs who have created new work positions and made culture their way of living.
Nowadays, after the early retirement, I dedicate my time to causes I consider fair. I actively collaborate with Cáceres’ Refugees Platform and I am always available to help in topics related to Gender Equality.
I am also part of the group of Artists and Workers of the World. Under that name we have made performances and installations in the Contemporary Art Fair of Foro Sur and in many other places in the area. One of the exhibitions we created, entitled “Señales para nuevos tiempos” has been used, and has circulated throughout Spain, as a mark of the LGBT movement to demand visibility to the topic. On the most intense time of the group, we have been left with the idea that life is way more fun if you fill it with performances and since then I have turned my birthday into a peculiar celebration. I have done “la primera communion”, a “wedding” with myself (when this was still not a trend) and the “perfect body funeral”, in which all my friends spoke fondly of me so I could enjoy their words while alive.
These performances were transferred to a more serious note to the Platform for Refugees and we have made two demonstrations with suitcases, a symbol of loneliness and the tragic exodus of so many people who flee with their belongings reduced to that small container. We also set up a refugee camp with tents, cartons and thermal blankets in the Plaza Mayor de Cáceres, bringing attention to the harsh living conditions suffered by displaced people in the refugee camps.
For some time, I was in charge of the café-theater Parrápolis. There were performances of theater, monologues, charity galas, drag queen contests, zombie parties, literary talks, poetry recitals, musical concerts, storytelling and even the national presentation of the Mongolia Magazine.
I am also interested in photography and I participated in the Expo-Pop. For that exhibition, I took a picture of the ex-president of Extremadura Juan Carlos Rodríguez Ibarra, who went around Spain and created as much criticism as enthusiasm. Ibarra himself, who is in the photo with the tattooed torso of the sailor of a perfume advertisement, asked me for the picture to keep it. I am sure he received it since it came out in his memoir book without mentioning me as the author or thanking me back for the picture.
A couple of years later we recreated as a character the Duchess of Alba, who came to the inauguration and took off my painting with the intention of buying it, along with a puppy created by my partner from Artists and Workers Marce Solís. Neither of us wanted to sell it, and we gave it to her, on the condition that she would allow us to visit her palace, to which she delighted. On my own initiative she extended the invitation destined in principle only to the two of us, all participants in the exhibition, and together we went to the Palace of Liria, in Madrid, where we had a private guide on closed areas to the public.
Then we had an aperitif with her, in her fantastic library, where she has documents of great literary and historical value. There I retreated lying on a couch, among photos of the Duchess’s with her children or Felipe González. I’ve tuned that image and hung a Republican flag behind me. It’s the photo I usually congratulate my friends on networks every April 14th.
Strangely, since that exhibition, which was a resounding success thanks to the whim of Cayetana for my work and Marce’s, we were excluded by the organization of the Expo-Pop to participate in the new editions. We don’t know why.
The preretirement has also given me the idea to write a novel “La mujer que se casó consigo misma” -The woman who married herself – It is the story of a woman who divorces over her fifties and discovers that the life of “Neosoltera” – new single – is much better than she expected. In a humorous mood, I count her immersion in the world of Internet flirting and her adventures, which she shares with a group of friends called “Las San Viernes”. It is, in my opinion, a hymn to freedom and joy at any time in life. This book was recently published and had way more success than I anticipated.
How was it like to be a female journalist? Did you ever felt left aside or discredited?
It is funny that I never felt discriminated until, with some perspective, I reflected on many events of my life and thought about them. I will have to say yes. For example, I started collaborating with the newspaper Diario Hoy, back in the early 80, we were three women pioneers in the field, three good professionals, however, they would make us a contract and made it for other people (man). After that I came to know the director, at that time, Antonio González Conejero, said publicly and clearly that he did not want women in his newspaper. It was his own lost.
What kind of projects are you interested in? Can you tell us about some of the projects you already developed?
I am learning a little of everything and I am a master of nothing, I am interested in almost any issue that someone puts in my way, as long as it has a social nuance or that it is amusing to me.
From my career as a journalist I remember that my passion was the articles about people, the interviews with simple people full of wisdom.
Regarding photography and street art, my membership of artists and workers of the world has been very interesting to me, among other “interventions” we surrounded a bullring with red to symbolize the blood that spills. We cover a bridge with flowers, to commemorate the day of the mental illnesses. We filled with phrases of love, expressed by the neighbors themselves, the balconies of a depressed neighborhood in Cáceres. We made a curtain with 25.000 condoms in an Event Against AIDS. We spent three days behind a showcase doing normal chores… All of this with the help of my friends and family, with minimum resources and great results.
Another activity I have is to travel a lot and tell my adventures on social media. I give a very different view of the cities I visit, whether I go sightseeing, as if it is a field work to develop a series of projects to help Mozambique (this summer).
How did the idea of making a photographic exhibition of “El encanto de la mujer madura” arise?
It was very simple. When I ordered the cover of my novel “La mujer que se casó consigo misma”, the person who designed it, Javier Remedios, after reading it, thought of Emmanuelle and so was the final result.
When I saw her, I thought of my friends, almost all mature and beautiful, each one with her own style. I immediately thought that they, who are the real protagonists of the novel, with our jokes, our memories and our experiences, were, in addition, the perfect models. In a world that raises altars to youth, we wanted to vindicate the beauty of maturity. The photos have no retouching, they are taken on the terrace of my house, at different times, when each one could spend half an hour of their daily tasks. They are also made with a phone, there is no first-class equipment, no lights, no make-up artists, no post production. Just them, ordinary women. In half an hour, they would take a coffee with me and pose without shame, because at this point we are aware of our power and our joy of living.
The story is also a tribute to one of our friends, hurt by cancer. She was the first to pose and the one who wanted to do it on bare chest, showing her scar, where it should be a nipple. Serenely, with the conviction that the blows that life gives you, you shouldn’t have to hide them, but assume them and move forward.
Nor is the first time I use my friends to do photographic performances. Last 8th of March we photographed us all as the model from the poster “we can do it”, some yellow cards and a denim shirt, then we posted the pictures in our Facebook profiles.
How have people reacted to this project? What kind of feedback have you received?
A little of everything: people to whom it seems wonderful that we are able to portray without shame and sexy; or other who qualify the photos as tacky or with bad taste and who only interested in the morbid.
As that photo “we can do it” which received many friendly comments but also some very aggressive.
In these cases, I answer with one of my favorite phrases: “Well, so what?”
Do you expect to do this project with more women?
This particular one is over, but there will be more, of course, as soon as I have another idea.
What is the message you want to convey with “El encanto de la mujer madura“?
The message is very simple, any woman at any age is precious, we do not have to hide wrinkles, sagging, or fat rolls or diseases, because the aesthetic regulations say so.
What about plans for the future? Can we expect more initiatives of this kind or do you plan to engage in other areas?
No idea so far. But whatever life puts in my way.
Do you have some a message that you want to transmit to women who have an interest in doing the same type of projects?
I do not like giving advice, but if there is a message is that I firmly believe that the time has come for women to act as we want, without molds or corsets that catch us in the politically correct, in the role we have always been “awarded”.
And to young women, leave the body shame, work for real equality, a world where female values are as important as the masculine, a world where we do not have to apply man tactics to reach positions of a certain level, because the patriarchy does not work, society continues to have the same problems it has had over the centuries, wars, conflicts, power struggles and I am convinced that the values traditionally attributed to women can be the remedy for so much pain.
See some more of Elisa’s work here:
Under our Radar: Feminist Explorations of Contemporary South Asia: Possibilities and Challenges by Krishna Menon
Venue: Symposium Hall // King Khalid Lecture Theatre
Date: 20th of February
Time: 6 pm.
Organized by: School of Social and Political Sciences and University of Edinburgh
To all our lovely Womebeings in Edinburgh. Today Under our Radar brings you a new and exciting event for all feminists in Edinburgh. Feminist Explorations of Contemporary South Asia: Possibilities and Challenges by Krishna Menon is a lecture organized by the University of Edinburgh and where topics like gender equality and sisterhood will be talked about. The lecture will be held in Symposium Hall // King Khalid Lecture Theatre, located in Hill Square and it starts at 6pm on the 20th of February.
This lecture will focus on feminist politics in South Asia. The nation-state has been a very important and transformative player in the politics here. And yet, nationalist ideologies sometimes inhibit the possibilities of feminists working across national boundaries. The intractable linkage between nationalism, state and gender in this region is easily one of the most vital themes of feminist inquiry. South Asia has, on the one hand, produced important women politicians and heads of states, while also being witness to some very brutal and harsh attacks on women based on caste, ethnicity, language and religion. Resistance to such assault and attack by women is slowly but surely changing the way women see themselves, no longer as hapless victims but as agents of change and empowerment. Further, the increasing role of religion in political mobilizations in South Asia cannot be ignored. A simple binary of religion versus secular seems to be unproductive in unravelling the complexity of the issues on hand. The differing impact of globalization and changes in the economy has created new opportunities and challenges to feminist politics in South Asia. These changes have also resulted in new ways of mobilizing and organizing feminist solidarities. The current context is characterized by globalization, patriarchy and militarism. The ‘war on terror’ has led to governments and international bodies working in tandem, even at the cost of limiting and violating democratic traditions and conventions. This constitutes one of the most serious challenges to the building of South Asian feminist politics and at the same time makes it necessary to create feminist networks across borders. Violence, especially political violence against dissenting citizens and against women continues to be a matter of grave concern that requires South Asian feminist politics to attend to.
Krishna Menon is Professor and Dean at the School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD). Prior to joining AUD she taught at the Department of Political Science at Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi for over two decades where she was the Director of the Aung San Suu Kyi Centre for Peace. She received the Teacher of Distinction award from the Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi in 2009. She has published books, papers and articles on debates within political theory, issues in Indian politics, and feminist theory and politics. Her publications include Resisting violence-Annotated Bibliography and Documents on Initiatives to Challenge Violence Against Women (2017) contributions to Sentiment, Politics, Censorship- The State of Hurt (2016), Women and Empowerment in Contemporary India (2016), Women and Political Process(2015), and Women’s Studies in India (2014), Applied Ethics and Human Rights (2010), Human Rights, Gender and Environment(2009), Political Theory: An Introduction (2008) and a co- authored research monograph titled Gender and Identity: A Case Study of Nurses from Kerala in Delhi (2008), among many others. She is currently Associate Editor, International Feminist Journal of Politics. She has been nominated as a member of a Study-Group constituted by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to study and analyze issues relating to violence against women in public places of Delhi. She has a long record of performing Bharata Natyam in addition to having been trained in classical music. She was the classical dance critic of The Indian Express (1993-1996).
Today, Womenbeing Project brings you extreme good news for feminists based in Edinburgh. Looking at amazing organizations like The Empower Project, today we would like to invite you to be part on their event: Chat Tech Abuse! Since the #metoo movement and time’s up being brought to our lives more and more and giving awareness to the world about what happens to women in their everyday lives, is everyday more necessary to create and be present in talks like this one.
The Empower Project is a feminist charity based in Scotland, working hard to support communities to end violence against women. They work with individuals, with institutions and campaign on social ideas. They offer training- looking at everything from new technologies to confidence, from bystander approaches, to sex ed. They offer strategic support to help communities think about what steps they need to take to tackle violence. We are positive, progressive and proactive.
Their vision is a world in which every member of every community works to support survivors and hold perpetrators of violence against women and girls to account; a world in which every member of every community understands that violence against women and girls isn’t inevitable; a world in which every member of every community understands that violence against women and girls is rooted in inequality. The Empower Project wants to invite you to talk about tech abuse and what we can do about it: Revenge Porn, Harassment, Coercion Online Sex, Abuse and the Digital age. Come along, chat, learn, connect and help The Empower Project to tell those in power what they should be doing about it.
So, if you are interested in any of this topics, please meet us and let’s empower women in Scotland even more. This event will take place on the 5th of February at Teviot’s Balcony Room from 5-7 pm.
Womenbeing is proud to have been invited by Shutter Hub, for a symposium included in their Artificial Things exhibition at Cambridge University. The exhibition examines the question of reality within the photographic image, bringing together photographic artists who are exploring and merging the boundaries of the fake, the real, and the in-between.
In this event, which will take place at the Alison Richard Building on Saturday 9th December, 2-4pm, four inspirational speakers will tell us about the impact that embracing themselves fully had in their professional and personal lives, and how self-acceptance is the only route that can lead to real contentment and fulfilment.
Each talk will last 20 minutes, and will be followed by a Q&A session/panel discussion and networking.
Founder and Director of Shutter Hub, the photography organisation supporting and promoting creative photographers internationally through exhibitions, networking and opportunities. With a wide range of experience working as a photographer and writer, creative consultant, mentor and curator, (as well as self proclaimed cat whisperer and chicken wrangler) Karen has spoken about developing a career in the photographic industry on many occasions, most notably at Foam Museum Amsterdam, the National Photography Symposium, London Art Fair, London Photomonth, the Festival of Creative Industries, and across the UK at universities and colleges.
Also known as Tina Charisma, Tina Antwi is a finalist of Miss Universe Great Britain 2017 as well as a model, speaker, writer and a youth development worker based in London. She campaigns, writes and speaks on issues related to women, diversity, culture, beauty, media and education. In addition, Tina is currently writing her book “Black Skin Carved Mask” which focuses on sense of belonging and identity of second generation West African immigrants in the UK.
Sonali is a Chancellors PhD Fellow in Theoretical Physics at the University of Sussex at Brighton. Having graduated as the valedictorian of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, her research deals with Black holes and Quantum Gravity. She is also a blogger, poet, spoken word performer and author. She uses her blog, poetry and Facebook to spread awareness regarding gender struggles both in and out of academia, drawing on her own experience and stories shared by others. She is the PhD representative for the Athena Swan Chapter for diversity at Sussex, is the founder of a feminist/identity related magazine Carved Voices and will soon found a collaborative blog titled “The Hysterical Lady” to focus exclusively on gender issues. She has been interviewed widely in the media, and has recently been featured as one of the twelve women scientist speakers at SOAPBOX Science, Brighton. She likes to use these media to inspire future women scientists and dispel certain gender related myths floating around academia.
Catarina is a London-based journalist working as a reporter across two Trinity Mirror publications, Get Surrey and Get West London. She has reported for other publications, including Scotland’s Press & Journal and Gay Star News. In addition, she has worked as Managing Editor at the International Press Foundation. Catarina’s journalistic work is varied but her focus is on telling untold stories. She has interviewed refugees, victims of female genital mutilation, rape survivors, among others. Alongside her job, Catarina is one of the founders of Little Portugal, an online platform giving a voice to London’s Portuguese-speaking community. Catarina has recently completed her MSc in Global Conflict and Peace Processes, and has also worked with several other organisations, including disability charity Back Up, Refugee Action Kingston, LSE SU and Index on Censorship.
This is a free event open to everyone, but booking is essential – please let us know you’re coming by RSVPing to the Facebook event, here.
The Importance of Being and Accepting Yourself
Saturday 9th December 2017, 2-4pm
Art at the ARB, University of Cambridge, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT
Source: Shutter Hub Blog
Are you excited for the weekend? With the colder weather coming to our doorstep is just relaxing to find a good book to read at home or in a quiet place. Womenbeing recommends today The Pimping of Prostitution by Julie Bindel.
The Pimping of Prostitution is built around 250 interviews, conducted in 40 countries, cities, and states. Bindel has spoken to sex workers’ rights organizations that oppose the Nordic model; to politicians, police, and public health experts who determine policy on the sex trade; to punters, pimps, and madams who prey on prostituted women and girls. Most of all, she has listened to survivors. Not the white, well-educated, middle-class “sex workers” with PhDs who dominate media coverage of prostitution, but to the women who know what it is truly like. This is a book filled to the brim with women’s voices.
Bindel meticulously sets out the abolitionist case in a series of chapters focused on the sex worker’s rights movement, human rights NGOs, HIV/AIDS charities, “queer” campaigners, and, above all, academics. She shows how all of these groups have helped pimp prostitution — to sanitize and conceal the reality of the sex trade. Bindel is remarkably fair in her summary of their arguments, often quoting them at length. This is not a courtesy normally extended to abolitionists, who are frequently dismissed as prudish man-haters in league with religious conservatives.
Bindel ends, just as she begins, with the testimony of survivors fighting the world’s oldest oppression: women who are “held together by the politics of feminism and the strength of hope.” Yes, we have a long way to go, but there are reasons to be hopeful.
For homeless women, it really is that dreaded time of the month. With limited or no access to sanitary products, they’re often forced to go without. This initiative believes that tampons and towels should be made available through homeless shelters, the same way the government provides condoms.
In the UK it is estimated that around 21% of the population, some 13 million people, are living in poverty, a significant proportion of which experience what is sometimes termed “deep poverty”. Due to the rise in poverty in the UK, this has caused much stricter benefit criteria and entitlement to foodbanks, which has caused a rise in people in need of foodbank services and not receiving it. Consequently, meaning that this demographic are also at risk of hygiene poverty, with a poll from charity “In Kind” revealing that consequently more people are “forced to choose between eating and keeping clean. Menstrual sanitary products are items women struggle to budget for in order to be able to afford food, which indicates that where food insecurity is experienced it is likely that period poverty is also an issue. Of this increase in poverty, women are particularly vulnerable. Although many women may have attained economic independence from their spouse or partner through increased participation in the labour force, for a considerable number, the price of independence has been compromised by financial distress and dependence on welfare.
A House of Commons Library research report revealed that the £8 billion total to be raised from benefit and service cuts in the 2010 budget, £6 billion would come from women. As women are more susceptible to be impacted by poverty, financial difficulties could lead to increased risk of being affected by homelessness. Although there are difficulties involved with gaining a true representation of female homelessness. One reason that homeless women can seem less visible than homeless men is that often they will use domestic violence services on becoming homeless rather than homeless shelters. A 2010 UK study of domestic violence services indicated that homeless women who had used domestic violence systems were not being recorded as being homeless. Empirical research on homelessness in Britain has typically focused on rough sleepers and hostel use which tends to suggest that homelessness is predominantly experienced by men. However, there is a growing awareness that women experience homelessness in a different and less visible way from men.
In Scotland one of the biggest advocates on this issue is MSP Monica Lennon. She has launched a campaign calling for the Scottish government to provide free sanitary products for anyone who needs them. Monica will be working with various organisations to bring forward a private member’s bill to eradicate period poverty in Scotland.
For more information and donations go to Homeless Period Edinburgh.
All over the world people are making a stand to help homeless women get access to female hygiene products, like Jacki Huntington who shows us with this video the situation in some parts of California and how people are helping.
Information and pictures: Homeless Period Edinburgh.
On Sunday, Peru hosted the beauty pageant for Miss Peru 2018. This kinds of pageants are often know for objetify and judge women thru standard beauty patterns. But this contest for Miss Peru 2018 was marked by difference with peruvian women speaking up and making a stand about the huge amount of violence against women and girls in the entire country. The 23 contestants unexpectedly used their platform to speak about femicide in the South American country, a subervise act you might not associate with pageants.
One model said: ‘My name is Carmila Canicoba and I represent the Lima region and my measurements are 2012 cases of femicide were reported in the last nine years in my country.’ Another added: ‘My name is Luciana Fernandez and I represent the city of Guanacu. My measurements are 13,000 girls suffer from sexual harassment in our country.’ When the women introduced themselves, they were supposed to tell the crowd their measurements – a segment that invites scrutiny of their bodies. Instead, one by one, they rattled off facts about a pervasive problem in their country.’And I represent Lima. My measurements are 2,202 cases of femicides reported in the last nine years in my country.’ Another contestant followed her up by saying, ‘My name is Karen Cueto. My measurements are 82 femicides and 156 this year so far.’
In this way, when it was the turn of the parade in swimsuit, Jessica Newton, organizer of the event, gave a message in which she stressed that women are free to act and dress as they wish and that no one can feel that right of disrespect, “tag” them and much less “touch” them. Also during the parade, covers and newspaper clippings of femicides occurred in Peru.
To watch the entire protest click here.
With the objective of always represent the uniqueness of diversity in the world, Womenbeing brings you an article with a selection of incredible latin women who changed gender status and redefined stereotypes not only in central and South America but in the entire world. In order to honor every type of activist and fight for equality we encourage our readers to tell us more about their own stories, activism and change in the world.
Considered one of the Mexico’s greatest artist, Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 in Coyocoan, Mexico.The Mexican Revolution began in 1910 when Kahlo was three years old. Later, however, Kahlo claimed that she was born in 1910 so people would directly associate her with the revolution. Active communist sympathizers, Kahlo and Rivera befriended Leon Trotsky as he sought political sanctuary from Joseph Stalin’s regime in the Soviet Union. Initially, Trotsky lived with Rivera and then at Kahlo’s home. Frida Kahlo began painting after she was severely injured in a bus accident. Kahlo later became politically active and married fellow communist artist Diego Rivera in 1929. She exhibited her paintings in Paris and Mexico before her death in 1954.
The Cuban prima ballerina and choreographer changed the Cuban ballet, despite being afflicted with an eye defect that left her partially blind at the age of nineteen. She became famous for her portrayals of Giselle and the ballet version of Carmen in New York and Havana, where she founded the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and continues to direct to this day. Alonso danced with many companies, including the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1955 to 1959. Her own company was renamed Ballet de Cuba in 1955, but it closed the following year because of financial difficulties. In 1957 she became the first Western dancer invited to perform in the Soviet Union. After Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba in 1959, Alonso returned home and formed a new ballet company, Ballet Nacional de Cuba (National Ballet of Cuba). In addition to serving as its director, she continued to dance, though tensions between Cuba and the United States prevented her from performing in the latter country for a number of years. In 1995 Alonso gave her last public performance. UNESCO awarded her the Pablo Picasso Medal, its award for notable contributions to arts or culture, in 1999.
Born and raised in New York City with Puerto Rican and Venezuelan roots, Sylvia Rivera was a pioneer for trans women and drag queens of color. Struggling with addiction, homelessness, jail time, and abuse because of her identity, Rivera spent her lifetime championing intersectional awareness within the gay and lesbian community and is credited with helping add the “T” to LGBTQ. After protesting together during the Stonewall riots of 1969, Rivera founded the Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with friend and activist Marsha P. Johnson to provide housing and support for homeless queens and queers in New York City. Since her 2002 death, Rivera’s life has been depicted in several musicals and a short film. Her legacy has continued through The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which pushes for legislative and political change in support of gender expression. The corner of Hudson Street and Christopher Street were renamed in her honor to Sylvia Rivera Way and her portrait was added to the National Portrait Gallery collection in 2015.
The Mirabal Sisters
Patria, Dedé, Minerva, and María Teresa Mirabal were four sisters from the Dominican Republic who bravely rejected the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo and became know as Las Mariposas (The Butterflies). Ignited to action after witnessing a massacre executed by the regime on June 14, 1959, the sisters formed the Movement of the Fourteenth of June and sought to dismantle Trujillo’s rule through public protest. They created and shared pamphlets outlining the massacre and as a result were repeatedly subjected to torturing and imprisonment. While en route to visit their jailed husbands, Minerva, María Teresa, and Patria were detained and beaten to death by Trujillo’s lackeys who attempted to stage their deaths as accidental by placing them back into their Jeep and running it off of a road. After her sisters’ assassinations, Dedé continued her sisters’ legacies by founding the Mirabel Sisters Museum, raising their six children alongside her own, and published her own memoir, Vivas en su Jardín, in 2009. The sisters are a symbol of feminist resistance and radical activism in Latin America and have been memorialized through pop culture, on the 200 Dominican peso bill, and annually on their death anniversary of November 25—the UN-designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, named in their honor.
Asociación Civil Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo
The ‘Asociación Civil Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo’ is a human rights organization in Argentina and it’s goal is to find and bring together families all the kidnaped/missing kids during the military dictatorship (1976-1983) and punish the responsible people for this terrible crimes.It was founded in 1977 to locate children kidnapped during the repression, some of them born to mothers in prison who were later “disappeared”, and to return the children to their surviving biological families. The work of the Grandmothers, assisted by United States genetics scientist Mary-Claire King, by 1998 had led to the location of more than 10 percent of the estimated 500 children kidnapped or born in detention during the military era and illegally adopted, with their identities hidden. Las Abuelas restored 1151 kids to their families and where nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize 5 times.
María Jesús Alvarado Rivera
Regarded as the “first modern champion of women’s rights in Peru,” María Jesús Alvarado Rivera was a journalist, teacher, and activist from Chincha Alta, Peru. Alvarado Rivera spent her lifetime dedicated to empowering women through the establishment and expansion of educational programs, access to work, and political representation. Her advocacy focused on progressive models of childhood and adult education, sexual health awareness, reintegration programs for sex workers, and land rights for the indigenous. Alvarado Rivera was an international figure and her lectures are considered the first examples of public feminist discourse in Peru. In addition to establishing the first women’s committee, Alvarado Rivera also successfully campaigned for nine years to change legislation preventing women from holding directorial positions in public welfare. Her radical activism was increasingly met with opposition and she spent three months in solitary confinement before being exiled to Argentina for 12 years where she continued to teach and write. Upon her return to Peru, Alvarado Rivera continued efforts for women’s voting rights and witnessed the change in 1955.
Rigoberta Menchú Tum
Rigoberta Menchú Tum is a prominent K’iche’ activist and 1992 Nobel Peace Prize recipient with a lifelong dedication to furthering indigenous rights within the Americas. Born in Laj Chimel, Guatemala, Menchú’s foray into political activism began in the 1970’s while speaking out against the Guatemalan army’s human rights violations during the country’s civil war. Along with an estimated 1700 Ixil Mayans, Menchú lost her father, mother, and two brothers during the Guatemalan genocide. At the age of 23, she collaborated with Venezuelan author Elizabeth Burgos to tell her story in the memoir I, Rigoberta Menchú, which catapulted the struggles of indigenous peoples in her country to international awareness. Although her autobiographical accounts have been challenged, Menchú continues to serve as the president of the organization Salud Para Todos, which seeks to provide indigenous people with affordable medicine, and has run for President of Guatemala twice since 2007.
Dolores Huerta is a Mexican American labor leader and civil rights activist known for founding the United Farm Workers alongside Cesar Chavez and for her continued advocacy for the rights of immigrants, agricultural workers, and women. She began her career in activism in the 1950’s as an organizer for farm workers’ rights. In 1960, she began lobbying for legislation in support of Spanish speakers and undocumented people. In addition to carving out space for herself in the world of politics, she spent two years advocating for increased Latina representation in office around the country through a project by the Feminist Majority. Over her impressive career, she has been arrested 22 times for non-violent protests and still has received a long list of accolades and awards for her work including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights. She’ll also officially became the first Latina to be portrayed in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery last summer.
María Teresa Ferrari
María Teresa Ferrari was an Argentine doctor, educator, and pioneer in women’s health care. Born in Buenos Aires, she founded the local military hospital’s first maternity ward and introduced gynecological services in 1925. Two years later, after a battle of over a decade, Ferrari became the first female university professor in all of Latin American. Her research on radiation use for uterine tumors and development of a vaginoscope revolutionized women’s health services in her home country as well as in Brazil. Ferrari also remained a firm advocate of women’s rights and in 1936 established the Argentina Federation of University Women which sought to increase female professorship and further social and political gains for women.
Eva Perón was a beloved political figure and the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 through 1952. Born into poverty in Buenos Aires, Perón achieved her dream of becoming an actress and started her very own entertainment business at the age of 20 before marrying Colonel Juan Perón. Eva revolutionized the role of the First Lady and became a highly active, outspoken advocate for women’s suffrage and the poor. Barred from carrying the First Lady tradition of joining Buenos Aires’ society for charity work due to her own low socioeconomic status and education, Perón created the Eva Perón Foundation which sought to provide financial support to build homes, school, orphanages, and hospitals. She founded the first large-scale female political party and is attributed with gaining the right to vote for Argentine women in 1946. Her political achievements also include a declined nomination for vice presidency a year before her death from cervical cancer. Since her death, Perón’s political and social legacy continues in Argentina and beyond as an international symbol of cult sainthood within popular culture.
On the 10th of November, Womenbeing presented the first International Women’s Conference in Edinburgh. To help us, we had the pleasure to have as our keynote, Anna Zobnina, strategy and policy coordinator for the Migrant Women Network. Born in St.Petersburg, Russia, Anna has over 10 years of experience in the area of intersectional feminist analysis of violence & discrimination against women, with specific focus on migrant women, sexual exploitation and care economy. She is a former Research Analyst with the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) and a selected expert with the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). She served as ENOMW chair in 2014-2017 and currently works on the capacity building of the network, strategic advocacy and strengthening the inclusion of migrant women voices in the EU decision-making across such areas as access to labour & justice, sexual & reproductive rights and civic participation.
As she starts, she reads a quote from Nawal El Saadawi: ‘Capitalism, patriarchy and religion work together (for their unholy, mutual, material interests) against justice and equality between people in any country.’
With this Anna described the work done by the European Network of Migrant Women. It is the only Europe-wide feminist umbrella organisation that directly represents the opinion of migrant & refugee women & girls at the European and International level. Their diverse membership includes the women of Arab, African, Asian, Latin American and Eastern European descent and extends to over 40 migrant women grass-root and advocacy groups in 20 European countries.
To watch Anna’s entire keynote see our youtube video.
Womenbeing is happy to advise you on an incredible blockbuster just released last year. Hidden Figures is a story written by Margot Lee Shetterly based on a true story about three African-American female mathematicians at NASA and directed by Theodore Melfi.
This film on NASA’s mission shows the equality movement for ‘colored’ people in early ‘60s Americas and the racism that they had to overcome. But while showing the fight for equality and the initial struggle of feminists there the movie also exposes feminists a big way. We are to be told the story of three black women — a mathematician, an engineer, and a programmer — who did crucial work at the NASA space program in segregated 1960s Virginia. It’s a story that hasn’t been told in Hollywood or elsewhere—three brilliant black heroines make essential contributions to science and their country. And the story’s true.
The women are cordoned off to a “colored” wing of NASA where only black women work and are visited from time to time by an icy, disapproving, and ultimately racist supervisor, Vivian Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst), who hands out assignments from the headquarters. The film deals with the ins and outs of both overt and more casual racism and sexism.
The film shows the struggle that one goes through while accomplishing something for the first time. The legitimate demands get widespread support and acceptability in due course and one does not need to be vulgar. Often we do not recognize the value of these accomplishments if we inherit those by birth. That is when our demands start hurting humanity. That is what happened to feminism today. Hidden Figures a movie that upholds feminism, also exposes them.
This is our suggestion for you this week. We leave you with the words of one of the actresses Taraji P. Henson when accepting the award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the SAGA Awards.
“This film is about unity, the shoulders of the women that we stand on are three American heroes: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Without them, we would not know how to reach the stars. These women did not complain about the problems, the circumstances, the issues. They focused on solutions. Therefore, these brave women helped put men into space. This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside, and we come together as a human race. We win. Love wins every time … They are hidden figures no more!”