Although the Cuban generation that grew up with Castillo Rá-Tim-Bum is accompanied by the mantra that this is not an answer, we first write about gender just because. We have the right to do it and we will enjoy it. Because at this point we have dragged enough no’s and too many explanations have been required from us.
2. BECAUSE WE ARE MANY, BUT WE ARE BADLY REPRESENTED OR UNDERREPRESENTED
Women are half of the world’s population. But we do not occupy —not even remotely— half of the forums where the collective destiny is decided. We are not half of the owners nor the people in positions of power. Of both scientists and painters in history, we can recall mostly male names. Our specific characteristics as women are not yet taken into account to design cars and many medicines. We want to find ourselves in all the mirrors.
3. BECAUSE IT IS POLITICAL
In Cuba, forms of conservatism persists, fighting hard for interests that would not only prevent the progress of freedom and opportunities, but would also cause a rollback. We must keep being autonomous over our bodies and reject all forms of violence. The reality of women and minorities in Cuba is not in an isolated bubble. We want to join the regional debate on gender violence. We need a comprehensive law against gender violence in Cuba and an inclusive and feminist Family Law.
4. BECAUSE WE CLAIM EQUITY
The weight of domestic work and unpaid care continues to burden working-age women. The statistics, however, do not consider them within the economically active population. There is a wage gap given by the fact that women are more present in the lower paid economic areas. We are underrepresented in the non-State sector. In the private sector we are usually employees rather than business owners. We are not nor do we seek to be equal to men: the equality to which we aspire implies respect for diversity, fair opportunities adjusted to differences.
5. BECAUSE INFORMATION IS POWER
And it is freedom. We want to find, create and share insights. We have the right to have options, we want more than just one single route that ends in an archetype of woman. We need to know our rights to be in the position of demanding them. By accumulating knowledge we make the path easier and we can better understand what is happening with us and around us.
6. BECAUSE WE WANT TO KNOW
We share the growing demand for information on gender in Cuba. The expansion of digital media and Internet access have multiplied all kinds of content and have also made information gaps even more visible. We need hard data, science-based information.
7. BECAUSE IT INSPIRES US
We want to know the stories of women in Cuba and the region, and learn from them, celebrate them if that is the case. We want to know what they do, how, why; systematize their experiences; become the echo of diverse voices. The story of one has value for all. We write about gender to weave networks, to amplify our impact.
8. BECAUSE WE ARE LEARNING
And just as drawing one learns to look, writing one learns to think. We have doubts. We ask ourselves difficult and easy questions. We have no more certainty than the search. We want to learn.
9. BECAUSE IT IS A DEBT
With our mothers, grandmother, aunts. With yours. With theirs. With which they raised the heroes of our history books and banknotes. The ones that put the buttons on all the uniforms of the glorious armies that liberated (or expanded) the nations of the world; those who served tea while important treaties were signed; those who cleaned the halls where the men wrote the laws to rule the lives of all.
10. BECAUSE THERE ARE CHILDREN GROWING UP
And they need references. We want to lay a stone to build something better for them. Protect the rights they have and work so that they enjoy the ones we lack. That girls grow up in safe environments to become the women they want and deserve to be. That the boys know how to take that growth, while also maturing themselves to masculinities that don’t not oppress them either. That, from early on, minorities have access to better resources to unfold their being.
11. BECAUSE WE WANT TO DIALOGUE
There is no such thing as a war of sexes or genders. There are proven inequalities based on sex and gender, unfair to those who suffer from the imbalance. We manage the conversation based on that reality. Talking about women and minorities is not an act of exclusion against any masculine, white or heterosexual person. Defense should not be interpreted as attack. We live in families and in society: we need to build consensus.
12. BECAUSE… WHY NOT
It is obvious that the list of reasons to talk about gender exceeds these few points. But the fact of the matter is that there is not a single fair reason not to do it, not to appropriate a voice as women and use it in favor of equality.