WASHINGTON, USA -- The Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA) has released a report titled "Women's Work: Gender Equality in Cuba and the Role of Women Building Cuba's Future."
The report examines significant progress made by Cuban women toward gender equality since the 1950s and discusses how that progress can be sustained in the future.
Policies implemented by the Cuban government for the health and wellbeing of its mothers and children, the literacy and educational attainment of its population, has earned the country high rankings from international organizations from Save the Children to the World Economic Forum, and enabled Cuba to fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals for primary education, gender equality and reducing infant mortality.
The report offers specifics on measurements of gender equality where Cuba falls short, presents evidence on why increasing participation by women in Cuba can help their nation meet its economic challenges, and suggests policy proposals for achieving this goal.
"Built on two years of research, consultation, and fact-finding travel, this report comes alive with the voices of Cuban women," said Sarah Stephens, executive director, "In the report, you will hear the voice of Emilia, an auditor who speaks three languages. She says 'I was born in the Revolution. It has given me opportunities.' Mimi, an academic, who was told by a manager not to get married or have kids, discusses sexism in the workplace. A small business woman, Barbara, tells us about the decision making, the ability to save money, and the feelings of independence that come from being her own boss. There is incandescence to the candor with which they talk about their lives."
The report's policy proposals include: ensuring that women who leave state employment and join the non-state sector have the same kind of access to day care and other social benefits as they do in their government jobs; offering training in financial literacy and marketing, and improving access to credit; promoting exchanges among Cuban women, NGOs, and entrepreneurs from Latin America and the developing world; and leveraging US policy – e.g., increasing the flow of remittances and opening the US market to exports for goods made by private businesses in Cuba – in ways that demonstrate US understanding of Cuban economic reforms and support for gender equality.
"We believe US policy needs to overcome its Cold War perspective and engage with Cuba differently," Stephens said. "If policymakers accepted Cubans' humanity and ran US foreign policy accordingly, we could support women and start repairing our relations with Cuba and with the region at large. That is why we hope Congress and the Executive Branch really pay attention to what we report and recommend."