My friend Olivia works with children and families at a center in Mejicanos, a suburb of San Salvador. She recently wrote a post in her blog about machismo in El Salvador titled Wake up, Raimundo, wake up. In part of her essay Olivia describes a workshop she helped lead on the topic of gender equality:
It was a beautiful conversation about the roles of women, what kinds of things women and men can do, how women are objectified in this social, political, and economic spheres of society, and what kinds of things women are doing to take opportunities for ourselves when they are not handed to us. I was just so honored and proud of all the mothers I have grown to love speaking up. After the workshop, so many women came up to me to tell me they had learned new things and thought it was such an interesting, worthwhile meeting.Read the rest of Olivia's essay here.
In the end, though, it was mostly a conversation about gender equality with women whose partners will continue to treat them with the same sexist attitude and expectations as always. One mother came up to me and thanked me for the workshop. “It was so interesting! Que bonito!” she said with a huge smile. “I only wish my husband were here. He is… well… he is a little bit machista.”