FMC: Cuban women are always on time

On August 23, 2021, the Federation of Cuban Women will celebrate its 61st anniversary by fulfilling urgent tasks in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in a country that grows by the day on selfless and creative work and refuses to yield to the U.S. illegal and criminal blockade.

Right now, it would seem that Cuban women of all ages have the mythical gift of ubiquity, as they are everywhere as doctors, nurses, scientists, educators, combatants, engineers, artists, lawyers, journalists, sportswomen, social workers, community volunteers, peasants, retirees, housewives, entrepreneurs and industrial producers, among many other occupations.

And it is necessary to mention a fact: women’s presence in all sectors of Cuban social life is possible because the founding of the Federation of Cuban Women in 1960, headed by the heroine of the Mountains and Plains, Vilma Espín, marked the beginning of a new era in the struggle for the full incorporation of this sector of the population to the economic, social and political life of the nation.

As the Cuban Revolution marched unstoppable since January 1959, fulfilling a program of social justice, changes and development, the young leader Fidel Castro believed in the strength that our females could contribute.

From the very beginning, FMC founder and first secretary-general Vilma Espín until her death in 2007 became an indispensable daily presence in the fulfillment of goals and tasks that brought about a radical change in the life and destiny of Cuban women.

Transformations that broke and abandoned old taboos and fears modified ancestral customs in favor of women’s full development and social performance, which in Cuba stemmed from a process that included family debate and firmness, always imbued with love and free of extreme violence, hatred and sharp confrontations.

Today the FMC tells its history with pride, but its members and leaders know that they still have a world of goals to conquer and spare no effort in projects to consolidate full equality, fight against domestic violence against women and girls and discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and skin color. In other words, everything that comes from isolated and non-institutionalized behaviors out of keeping with the spirit of justice of the Cuban Revolution and for which the State and the competent institutions are perfecting a body of protective laws in accordance with the demands of the present times.

Cuban women are aware that not only the Constitution and the laws must be effective, but also the educational processes and inclusive projects in which they are willing to maintain.

The increasingly younger force within today’s FMC keeps learning from Cuban patriotic traditions and heroines like the mother of the homeland, Mariana Grajales; women’s rights pioneer Ana Betancourt; and courageous revolutionaries like Haydée Santamaría, Melba Hernández, Lidia Doce, Clodomira Acosta and other eminent women in fields such as education and science.

Today, the unique wealth of Cuban women’s history justly recognizes the contribution of feminist and other organizations that defended women’s rights in the first half of the 20th century, but could achieve little or nothing in favor of the enormous masses.

However, the onslaught of the pandemic and the intensification of the blockade have not been able to belittle women’s place in the country’s qualified technical force, since there is no sector of society in which they are not represented, even in tasks such as construction and the military. Their role in leadership, both professional and political, has progressively increased and expected to grow.

And it is no secret that it is in the field of health, in Cuba and outside, where women’s presence is most noticeable, as they make up 80 percent of the labor force.

Cuban women enjoy the privilege of receiving the same salary as men for the same work, something that is not even enjoyed in developed countries, as is well known. Not only does this achievement respond to the political will of the Revolution, it also reflects the strength and respect earned by the organization that represents them.
Teresa Amarelle Boué, the incumbent secretary-general of the FMC, continues to see the heroine Vilma Espín as the eternal president of the organization. As Fidel also recognized, she devoted her entire life to work for gender equality and the development of Cuban women.


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