International Women’s Day and the Dominican Republic

“As a woman, I have no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world” V. Woolf

In the last twenty years, different kind of reforms and the globalization fact have transformed slowly the situation of women in the Caribbean and Latin America. In the Dominican Republic, these changes have introduced some positive modifications to the way gender is perceived in the society: female employment is increasing, gender violence and sex tourism has been reduced more than before and they are trying to rethinking repressive gender norms to combat the patriarchal ideals that keep women in their traditionally subordinate position at home.

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From a constitutional point of view, the women of the Dominican Republic nowadays are considered equal to men in terms of rights and freedom. In the Dominican Republic since the past, there is a culture founded on “machismo” behavior, that means a real gender diversity between women and men. Generally, women are not inferior but in the machismo idea, the man is seen as superior and masculine while the women accepted it as something culturally normal.The tradition of Dominican Republic wanted that the males usually provide the family from a financial point of view and he is the one who takes all the most important decisions; while the women are expected to stay at home taking care of their children, cleaning the house and cooking. Even if right now the situation is changing and the number of women employed is improving, in the Dominican Republic you can still see this situation of gender diversity.

International Women's day
International Women’s day

Through the Dominican Republic history, the women of the island have slowly achieved recognition of their civil and political rights. In 1920, women organized protest movements in the Dominican Republic, mostly they formulated demands for equal participation, equal education especially the possibility to be part of the intellectual and political life of the country.

Although these movements were undertaken in defense of women’s traditional domestic role, the action appears to be contributing to a better consciousness of gender difference. Five years later, in the capital of Santo Domingo, it was founded a new intellectual literary group called “Club Nosotras”, a club created by different feminists of the country. The real pioneer of feminism is represented by the personality of the activist Abigail Mejia, well known as the founder of the “Accion Feminista” and all long her life dedicated to the training and education of women in the poor sectors of the Dominican Republic.

Mirabal sisters
Mirabal sisters

Is not a surprise, that many women from the Dominican Republic decided to migrate in the USA, especially in New York City with the aim to run away and get far from the “machismo” culture based on the male domination in the society and gender diversity. This social problem it has been faced even from a group of artists and intellectuals and Julia Alvarez’s novel ”In the Time of the Butterflies” ( El tiempo de las mariposas) represents the real example of the historic context for the women in the Dominican Republic. The book commemorated the death of the Mirabal sisters: three fearless revolutionary feminist women that fought hard against the dictator Trujillo and for the democracy restoration, tragically murdered as heroines.

This real fact is so inspirational for us as a women and human being… It makes them very human and flawed and we think that makes us really think about what can give a person the courage to stand up for what they believe. We think they don’t just represent some victims but a real representation of sacrifice and courage that many women can have everyday fighting against violence, discrimination, diversity and subordinate position in the Dominican Republic and all over the world!

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Happy International Women’s Day to all our special ladies from all over the world!

 

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