Cuba and International Women's Day 2002

by Walter Lippmann Sunday, Mar. 10, 2002 at 2:48 PM

Cuban women have experienced great advances in their struggle for equality since the Cuban Revolution triumphed in 1959. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, their lives have been challenged in many ways. An end to Washington's blockade is the best way to help Cuban women secure a better life.

March 8th is International Women's Day.

In the face of over four decades of hostility

by the collosus to its north, Cuba remains

a country where women's rights are both

enshrined in the constitution and where

Cuban women have made big gains via

the process of the Revolution. How many

countries have seen women stride ahead

as they have in Cuba since the triumph

of the Revolution there in 1959?

Sexist attitudes remain (centuries old, they

couldn't be eliminated overnight, even by a

revolution), but the material foundation and

the ideological apparatus which supports

them are significantly weakened in Cuba.

Abortion remains free and legal, Catholic

Church attendance is way down, and etc.

Women gained literacy and access to the

workforce with the independence which

employment and money bring.

On the other hand the leadership of the

government and party are still mainly

male. The collapse of the Soviet Union

exacerbated social problems and the

government on the island has addressed

as best it can in a range of ways.

Attitudes toward sexual matters are more

relaxed and matter of fact than in places

where organized religion is enshrined in

the life of the nation, either formally via

the constitution, or informally as in the

United States of America.

Thoughtful professionals are taking up

the full range of issues related to women

sexuality and other topics at the upcoming

16th World Congress of Sexology to be

held in Havana next March (2003). Here

is the website of the Cuban organization

which is hosting the world event.

(Mariela Castro Espín, M.Sc., who is head

of the organization of this event is daughter

of Vilma Espin, one of the longest-standing

leaders of the Cuban Revolution, and the

President of the Federation of Cuban Women

(the FMC). Her father is Raul Castro, who is

Cuba's Minister of Defense.)

Here's a nice gallery of photographs of

Cuban women by a US photographer

who like the island and its people but

isn't overly interested in its politics:

Here are a few postcards from a Cuban website:

United Nations International Women's Day site:

My sense is that, only an end to the blockade and

and end to humanity's domination by the ideas like

unfettered individualism, religious obscrurantism,

greed and the societal and interpersonal violence,

can secure Cuba's ability to build a better society.




Original: Cuba and International Women's Day 2002