Monday, January 31, 2011

Women in Colombia

Like the rest of Latin American countries, Colombia is a patriarchal society. However, that is not to say that things are not changing. There are monuments dedicated to women that were defining in the history of Colombia like La Pola who was murdered for being a part of the resistance of the independence. Women are also prominent in the workforce. For instance, in the Santuario de Iguaque (the organic farm we visited), I spoke to Mariela a native of the Santuario who worked for the national park in creating consciousness to stop using agro toxic fertilizers. As a part of her job, she got the opportunity to travel to France. While here job has opened the door to many opportunities like that of earning an income and traveling, this has all came at the cost of her marriage. When I asked her about machismo in the area of the Santuario de Iguaque, she mentioned that machismo was extremely prevalent there. Mariela told me that her husband decided to leave her because she chose her job that required her be too much outside of her house (the house/the private being the appropriate place for a woman). As she was telling me this, she seemed satisfied with her decision. In another instance, women like Rosa from the Wayuu community were also bringing income into their communities. The women had their own means of employment. They ran what is called community tourism. While they lived in a matrilineal (genealogical relationship follows the female side), they still follow the patriarchal norms of their community. However, being able to earn their own income and contribute to the community gives Rosa and the women some respect/status in the community. Colombian women are challenging society’s patriarchal norms and choosing their own paths of life. 

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