Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Power to the Women

Last week I was invited to an opening ceremony of sorts, a ceremony recognizing the opening of 5 new Oficinas de la Mujer (Offices of the Woman) in 5 municipalities throughout Intibucá. These offices are part of the municipal government and are a place when women can go to report issues from unjust treatment to domestic violence. Domestic violence is a very pressing problem here in many parts of the country, most likely a result of the high rates of drunkenness and extreme poverty. It is therefore important that women have a safe place to come to express their fears and get advice about what to do. The offices also sponsor training for women in self esteem, women’s rights, entrepreneurship and basic health. So it was truly a joyous occasion to celebrate the opening of five new offices that can better serve women in more rural communities.

The ceremony was sponsored by INAM, the Instituto Nacional de La Mujer and the European Union. The Casa de la Cultura in La Esperanza was full of women in their brightly colored traditional lenca attire and important persons from the municipalities as well as the Señora Ministra herself from INAM. Brightly colored balloons were hung everywhere, including all over the boxes of electronics that were stacked in the one end of the room for no apparent reason, and festive music played. We all listened patiently to each of the mayors from the municipalities speak, all men. The presidenta of the organization I work with (UMMIL), Doña Maria, gave a moving speech about women needing more opportunities to earn income to feed their families. The Ministra herself spoke as well, wearing an Intibucá t-shirt she had just purchased at UMMIL an hour earlier. While I trusted her sincerity toward women’s issues, her appearance and mannerisms suggested that air of indifference so common in politics. Following the speeches, we had a brief lunch before the morning event ended.

To be sure, I was pleased new offices were opening and that so many lenca women had come from the communities to bear witness to the event. The whole event resonated with empowerment and dignity. The only problem for me was seeing the INAM logo posted all over everything:

Take a good look, notice anything odd? Perhaps that the woman who is supposed to represent the “women of Honduras” looks like a Caucasian movie star from the 1920’s? Now, I love the logo design as a whole, I think it’s incredibly creative, but couldn’t they have at least given her a darker skin tone, if not facial features that more accurately represent a latina woman? What Honduran woman would identify with this image?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nicole,

    I just stumbled across your blog because I am researching my guidebook for Honduras, and couldn't find the UMMIL shop in La Esperanza when I was there the other day. I know that you are now in Nicaragua and not likely returning, but I'd love to ask you a question or two offline. Could you please look me up on Facebook and send me a message? THanks! Amy Robertson (there are probably many - my location is Tegucigalpa, Honduras) thank you!!!!