Los 12 Calzoncillos Suicos del Estado Plurinacional
This is a calendar produced by the radical feminists of Mujeres Creando, which we picked up whilst having a cafe at their building in La Paz called ‘Virgen de los deseos’. Each month features a cartoon critiquing a key issue, or problem, that they believe the Bolivian Govt has either failed to deal with well or has avoided altogether.
A number of cartoons naturally deal with issues of major relevance to women. For example, abortion remains illegal in Bolivia, and contraception is frowned upon. The country remains a very macho, male dominated place, despite some improvements for women in recent years. President Morales has provoked feminist anger with some comments, not least in suggesting that women, especially younger women, should have more children! Women’s pay, indeed access to jobs at all for women, remains a major problem, especially with a rise in single mothers abandoned by feckless men.
It is difficult for us, in this a short time here so far, to assess how much support the ideas of Mujeres Creando, and similar groups, have? We have heard talk, from men, about how strong and community-minded women are, but from we can see so far the struggle for gender equality, equal rights and general female empowerment has a long way to go! http://www.mujerescreando.com
For those who don’t know, Bolivia has a full general election coming up in autum 2014. Although President Morales has been elected twice already, constitutional changes have led to him being allowed to stand for an unprecedented third term. One of those changes, in 2009, was the renaming of the country as the ‘Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia’, to reflect the large number of ethnic groups in the country.
We have noticed a tendency amongst the more Spanish, or lighter skinned, Bolivians, to poke fun at Morales. Yet as south Americas first truly indigenous elected leader, there is no doubt that alongside stable government he has introduced numerous changes intended to benefit the majority – and seriously pissed off many global corporations & states such as the USA. A key criticism of him from his radical support base though is that he can and should have gone further faster.