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01/06/14 - Havana Times - Women in Cuba Defending Conquests 

Elio Delgado Legon

HAVANA TIMES - For some months now, Cuban women have been enthusiastically
organizing the ninth congress of the Cuban Women's Federation (FMC),
scheduled to take place in March of 2014. One of the characteristics of
this process that caught my attention is the participation of young women,
willing to take on new responsibilities within the FMC and to defend the
achievements of the revolution.

One really could not expect anything else, for Cuban women have gained much
dignity since the triumph of the revolution on January 1, 1959.

Before that date, most Cuban women didn't get too far past the second grade
in terms of schooling. Though we have no reliable statistics for the time,
we know that the female workforce consisted of a few thousand teachers
(many of whom were unemployed), a handful of nurses and a great many house
maids, all living on measly salaries and under degrading conditions.

This situation - the reality of numerous countries today - has radically
changed in Cuba. Today, after 55 years of revolutionary leadership, Cuban
women can boast of achievements that continue to be mere dreams for
millions of people around the world.

In terms of education and labor, Cuban women represent 65.6 percent of
Cuba's professional and specialized workforce and 62.8 percent of all
university graduates. These two, plain figures eloquently show the degree
to which Cuban women have been empowered.

[1][IMG]Cuba was one of the first countries to sign and ratify the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW), something many countries that call themselves defenders of human
rights and try to teach the world lessons in governance have yet to do.

Algerian lawyer Meriem Belmihoub-Zerdani, member of the Committee for the
Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, recently declared in Geneva
that Cuba is to be held up as an example in the struggle for gender
equality around the world, praising the country for the degree of
leadership that Cuban women have secured in all areas.

Today, Cuban women are the majority in the fields of education and public
health and are making bold inroads in the sciences. In addition, they are
occupying positions that were once the exclusive domain of men.

[2][IMG]Many Cuban women also hold management positions in different
sectors - we can find them at the helm at schools, hospitals, companies,
universities and ministries, as ministers and vice-ministers.

Another interesting fact is that the life expectancy of Cuban women is
greater than that of men. This is thanks to health programs tailored
specifically for women, such as the maternity and child program, early
cervical, uterine and breast cancer detection programs and others.

Holding 48.36 percent of seats in parliament, Cuban women occupy the third
place in the world in terms of that indicator. In addition, their
reproductive and sexual rights are guaranteed, as is their access to
healthcare, education, social security and employment, where they receive
the same salaries men do and are able to freely choose their path as

To sum up, Cuban women reached the UN Millennium Goals long ago and, today,
they wholeheartedly prepare for their congress, sure that their
achievements will always be respected in Cuba.


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Original Source / Fuente Original: http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=101038


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