I just returned from a photographic trip to Cuba. It is very evident that rebuilding of structures in Havana is taking place. I observed a great deal of reconstruction. Having said that, Havana has a long way to go to upgrade it’s infrastructure. Many decades have passed since the buildings have been attended to.
I had an opportunity to visit with two Cuban women photographers. I wanted to explore the topic of women’s rights as they exist today. What I found out is that Cuba has outpaced the United States and other developed countries in gender equality. Cuba stands at number 18 among 142 nations in women’s political empowerment and number 2 for percentage of women in parliament. The United States is ranked number 54 in women’s political empowerment and number 83 for women in Parliament. Despite these figures, Cuban women call their status a “gender paradox”. They are legally bound to equality, but held tight in a system of patriarchy. Proof of this was evident to me in hearing that very few women ever drive the family car. Husbands, fathers, and brothers take over in many sectors of everyday life.
Women are making strides in breaking the barriers of patriarchy by starting small businesses. Cuban women are looking to the few outspoken women to lead them in having a real influence in policy making in the country.
Below are some photos of everyday life for most women in Havana.
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