In honor of the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), IFES colleagues from around the world share their thoughts on gender discrimination in their countries and how they are working to overcome it.
Name: Mireya Y. Cubas
Title: Finance and Administrative Manager
How does discrimination against women affect their participation as citizens in Honduras?
Over the years, our country has moved forward when it comes to discrimination against women. Women have begun to occupy a number of fields previously only occupied by men. As a result, we can now find women working in the field, perhaps not as professionals, but definitely fulfilling jobs men do. We also see women in official ranks, state positions and politics. Whether or not they are professionals, they have learned how to get ahead in different sectors.
Despite these improvements, there is still discrimination against women. It can be seen through the repression of women's enthusiasm to get ahead or in their lack of education. This leads to decreased self-esteem that drags down a whole generation and holds women back because of a lack of total equality. As long as these women in very poor or remote parts of the country are not recognized and their voices are not raised, discrimination against women will not be completely overcome.
Please tell us about your work with IFES related to combating discrimination against women and promoting women's empowerment.
I have not been working with IFES for very long, but in my short time here, I have had the opportunity to support IFES' work in the primary elections that took place in Honduras this November. In this role, I visited polling stations on Election Day and took photos.
The task allowed me to put into practice what I had learned through IFES about the technical aspect of elections and the need to be inclusive of more vulnerable populations, including women. I was astounded by the high numbers of women I saw at polling stations. It made me wonder whether this high percentage would also be seen in other neighborhoods, especially those considered less safe. I was amazed to find that both low-income and affluent neighborhoods had an equal amount of female participation. I felt very proud of these women and the fact that they are contributing to achieving gender equality by participating in the process, despite their educational or economic limitations.
Experiences like these motivate me to continue supporting IFES in fulfilling its mission to increase gender equality in every field office and empower women worldwide. I congratulate IFES on its 25th anniversary and its efforts to increase citizen participation around the world.