Monday, March 9, 2015

Blog #10-Vice Presidentes Guatemaltecas and Networking Receptions- Liv

Blog #10-Vice Presidentes Guatemaltecas and Networking Receptions- Liv

Nothing says “I feel accomplished” like attending a UN Side Event hosted by the Vice President of Guatemala and understanding the entire presentation in Spanish.  I was so excited to attend the event on the advancement of women and girls in Guatemala as I have done research on Guatemala and the social problems that indigenous people and women face there.  I was interested to see how the government was and is addressing the social injustices surrounding women.  I had no idea that the actual Vice President of the country was going to be there!  It was inspirational to know that she is the first female ever to hold a presidency office in Guatemala.  What was even more powerful is that she is taking the initiative to address the sexual traumas that adolescents face in her country.  She is clearly passionate about educating her people through La Planea (The Plan) which is designed to educate youth and indigenous people about sex, pregnancy and create laws that severely punch those to sexually abuse or violate women and/or girls.  Having read about the problems surrounding sexual trauma and racism towards indigenous women, it was refreshing to see an actual government official take a stand and push for social reform.  Among many of her points she emphasized the goals of La Planea in hopes that Guatemala’s successes could someday be transferred to the rest of Latin America to liberate and eliminate sexual trauma and youth pregnancies amongst the indigenous people.

            The Parallel Event that I attended today shed light on the issues that women in countries of conflict face.  Prior to this even I knew that women face many atrocities while their counties are engaged in war or conflict.  This even however detailed the additional traumas that refugees face while receiving aid from other NGOS and support organizations.  Issues such as lack of sense of safety or security while dwelling in refugee camps in tents, fear of going to the bathroom at night and being raped, lack of access to care for themselves when they are mothers are some of the points that the two speakers highlighted and are not something that I had previously considered when women are in conflict areas.  I appreciated their focus on problems faced by women and children refugees that are so often overlooked and not considered as gender equality issues.  Women who are displaced from their homes without resources such as food, money or access to jobs are already living in fear and feeling vulnerable, additional fear of their camps which are supposed to provide safety should not be part of the struggle that women and children refugees face when seeking aid.

            An all women mariachi, traditional Armenian food and open access to unlimited networking opportunities rounded the evening out with a bang.  I promised the director of my school (who is also the German teacher that I would bring her back some good information about women’s issues direct from Germany, and my connections tonight will help to make my promises a reality.  With a compliment here and a smile there, making connections is possible in a room of overly social women activists.  While helping a fellow fellow enhance her networking skills we approached a lady with a lovely hand carved wooden necklace.  After exchanging a few words it was revealed that she and her group are from Germany and are presenting on how women’s health support can enhance the empowerment of women as a whole.  While an interesting topic, I hope to take something back to my director that she can share with her students.  Connecting organizations and issues in this manner is exactly why we are here. To help spread the word and continue to educate others as to the push for the ratification of CEDAW and support of women’s human rights.

1 comment:

  1. Aha, the secret networking style of a smile and a compliment. Good work! And the Vice President of Guatemala--a woman, Hurray! Heady stuff. She sounds smart and capable and passionate--all good attributes of a politician and activist.

    The saddest stories are from women in conflict, imagine the aloneness, lack of feeling secure, difficulty to provide for families, all with no end in sight. Really a traumatic existence. If women "ruled" the world, could we eliminate this inequality and hopelessness?

    Tomorrow is your big presentation day! Hope it is great.