Women Empowerment Worldwide | Cuba

The Empowerment of Cuban Women

In this “Women Empowerment Worldwide” series for House of Notoire, women empowerment sceneries all over the globe will be researched and discussed with you. My ambition is to enlighten and inspire you with facts & figures on women empowerment you didn’t know yet - but which should definitely be a part of every girl’s cultural education. During the week I’m involved with TheNextWomen, where I’m responsible for the TNW women’s network and all of the events related to that. During the weekends I’m a freelance creative that loves to write about all things girlbossy. In between that, I’m a true globe wanderer and I try to discover new places as often as I can.

In this fourth edition of the women empowerment worldwide series, I will discuss the status of women empowerment in Cuba. Besides the fact that I was lucky enough to travel around Cuba and discover its enchanting cities for a month, #teamHONey might have a special announcement regarding this majestic place soon! Indisputable fact: Cuba is a very suitable topic for this week’s WEW edition.

When I visited Cuba, may 2016, I was visiting my friend who was doing an internship within the Dutch Embassy on the island at the time. Although my expectations of Cuba were quite “neutral” beforehand, I found out soon enough that experiencing Cuba through the embassy intern’s eyes was a very different one than experiencing the island as a tourist. As an employee of a governmental authority, a lot of places were accessible which weren’t for regular tourists nor locals. My very first impression of the island.

A second impression that pleasantly surprised me, was that Cuban women were not only the spill of the Cuban households: they were the head of their families. What I discovered in my recent research, is that Cuban women don’t only take the lead in their families: 66% of Cuba’s professionals and experts are female, as are 50% of the country’s healthcare workers. This gives women the possibility of supporting their children as men can. Furthermore: the participation of Cuban women in politics is notable, too. A total of 48% of the country’s deputies are women, or so Maria de los Angeles Florez, Cuban Ambassador before UNESCO, tells us. Today, Cuba is even prioritizing the appointment of female public officials. In addition, Cuban women earn the same salaries men do, something which isn’t very common in the rest of the world, as we’ve seen in the last WEW editions.

Cuba’s high divorce rate also contributes to the central role women play in the household today - a legal separation is a very quick and easy process in Cuba. To immediately put an end to a marriage, it’s sufficient for one of the partners to file for divorce. “That is how it ought to be, because, if I don’t want to continue to be married to my partner, no one can force me to,” says Loannia Marimon, a 32-year-old Cuban divorcee. “Isn’t that the way it is everywhere?” asked 33-year-old Manuel Toledo, somewhat surprised. (source: “Havana Times”)

For a country in which the communism regime has proved to treat a lot of marginalized groups within society unfair: Cuban women empowerment is very developed. A fact that pleasantly surprised me and which a lot of other (particularly Latin American) countries in the world can set as an example.

Maxime Eveline
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