Social Issues

Indigenous women of LatAm lift their voices for equality

By Carla Samon Ros

Lima, Oct 15 (EFE).- The Peruvian capital bore witness Friday to a march by hundreds of indigenous women from a dozen Latin American countries to demand recognition of their contributions to society on the occasion of the International Day of Rural Women.

“We are revolutionary women, we are women of the countryside, of struggle, and we need the great capitalists to understand that we, too, have rights that they have to respect,” Angelica Ponce, director of the Confederation of Women of Intercultural Communities of Bolivia, told Efe.

She made the trip to Lima for the Second Summit of Indigenous Women of Abya Yala (Latin America), which comes nearly five months after the first summit, held in Bolivia.

Taking part in the gathering are some 500 women from across Peru and 145 others representing more than 10 different countries in the region, according to Lourdes Huanca, president of Fenmucarinap, a federation of female peasants, artisans and wage-workers.

Friday’s march began with a ceremony in Lima’s Andres Avelino Caceres Park, where produce, flowers, seeds and craft objects were arrayed to form the silhouette of a woman as a symbolic offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth).

Leaders of the respective national delegations made speeches highlighting the role of indigenous rural women in caring for their families, lands and the environment, as well as the importance of women to economic development.

Speakers also called for an end to discrimination and gender violence.

From the park, the women marched to the government palace in the center of Lima, where Fenmucarinap’s Huanca took the opportunity to insist that Peruvian rural women be an integral part of the ambitious agrarian reform program announced two weeks ago by leftist President Pedro Castillo.

The president, she said, can be assured that “we women are here, fighting at his side.”

“We know that the right want to topple him, but with the strength of the indigenous peasant women they will not achieve it. But he must also listen and must respect and fulfill the promise he made to the original indigenous peoples,” Huanca told Efe regarding Castillo.

Starting Saturday, summit participants will engage in forums devoted to topics such as food sovereignty, women’s bodily autonomy, gender equality, the climate crisis and the right to decent material conditions.

The discussions will be distilled down to a common agenda or, in Huanca’s words, “an declaration in the voice of all the women,” that is to be presented to the presidents of all of the countries represented in Lima.

Organizers hope to hold two summits annually, with Guatemala and Mexico, respectively, expected to serve as the venues for meeting in March and October 2022. EFE csr/dr

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