Women of the North and South

Rosa Martinez

Photo: Byron Motley

HAVANA TIMES — We Cuban women have a lot to complain about, and do complain, not only when we gather at meetings of the Federation of Cuban Women, the organization that defends our rights in Cuba, but also at other arenas, such as the alternative media.

Much has been said and written about what we have yet to do to ensure women’s rights in our society and about the ills that still affect us.

I believe gender-related violence is the main problem we face right now, and I have written about this issue on several occasions. The Cuban government must implement new measures so as to keep this problem at bay, or from reaching the levels caught sight of in other countries in the region, which report alarming rates.

But, today, I do not want to write about the social ills that the white, black or mixed-raced women of Cuba suffer day after day, but, rather, about those we are fortunately spared.

The headline for an article published by the news agency Noticel was what made me reflect on this. The headline read: “Women in the United States Work Harder, Suffer More Stress, and Earn Less”. Who would have thought that, in the United States of all places, women work harder and earn less money than men?

Well, that just happens to be the case: in the so-called land of opportunities, in one of the most developed and richest countries in the world, women work much harder than men and receive lower salaries.

According to the article, in spite of earning lower wages, women in the United States continue to increase their financial contribution to the family as a unit, bear the burden of household obligations and, to top things off, suffer more work-related stress.

We sometimes think that the main cause of our gender-related problems is the fact we live in Cuba, an underdeveloped and poor country.

Now you can see this isn’t true, for, even in the United States, one of the world’s great economic superpowers, women also face difficulties when it comes to advancing their careers and securing important positions, finding true obstacles on the way of their personal development.

There, too, they must bear the burden of most household chores and, what’s more, to add insult to injury, they earn less than their male colleagues.

Though much remains to be done in Cuba to ensure women have equal opportunities within society, we can at least boast of having already won an important battle, that of equal wages. In this specific regard, Cuba has the lead.

7 thoughts on “Women of the North and South

  • absolutely right, not only in the Americas, I guess all around the world

  • You are right on Friedrich !!

  • Don’t let the main point be missed: despite the different “models” the effects of patriarchy remain the same. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • you seem to have your experiences. So many? Well I would say the overwhelming part of Cuban women is working, taking care of their children and families, living a hard, but honest life, which they can be proud of.

  • If Moses would have read carefully, he would have notices, that Rosa was talking about the same level of equality in salaries and nowhere said that the US level should be brought down. But its one of his tactics to twist things around, put people down and on top of it insult them. Of course, Rosas logic is the one of a fool and his the brighest one, as he is the brightest of all readers.Once again: Rosa was talking about same salaries for men and women. Nothing more or less. Even a fool would unsterstand that. At least if he had gotten enough fool`s logic.

    A fact on top of it is, that many women in the US and also some countries in the EU have two or three jobs, to be able to guarantee the living standard people pretend to need, very often also because of the high mortgages for houses etc. Familiy life because of all that consumer`s and consuming stress exists less and less , which explains to a certain extenf the big youth- problems lots of the countries face.

  • Rosa, yours is a fool’s logic. What you are suggesting is that to follow Cuba’s lead in equal pay for equal work between men and women, the US should lower salaries to less than slave wages. That’s ridiculous. One of Obama’s first major bills signed in to law is designed to reduce the inequality of pay between the sexes. Progress will no doubt be slow but progress nonetheless. Following the Cuban model is hardly the way to go.

  • if cuba has the lead then why do so many take the risk of earning foreign currency by the rampant underground prostitution? and at home they still live in a macho society.

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