Women in communist Cuba must choose between protest and food

Cuban women face a difficult decision when they see their children going without food, medicine, and medical care. If they protest the regime’s abuse, they go hungry. This is by design. This is socialism in action.

Angeles Rosas explains in Diario de Cuba:

To Protest or To Eat: Threats to Women’s Political Participation in Cuba

Hampered access to health and food, in addition to VAW, dampen women’s interest in generating change in Cuba, reveals a Cubadata study.

The economic and social crisis that Cuba suffers hinders Cuban women’s participation in political life. The critical situation as regards food, access to health services, and VAW, place the women of the island before the dilemma of supporting a family, raising children, or making their way in the country’s politics

In the study Gender Equality and Women’s Political Participation in Cuba: Challenges and Hidden Realities, the Cubadata project found that inequalities in access to health care, food shortages, high prices, and Violence Against Women have a negative impact on women’s political participation.

Women in Cuba have limited access to political information and less confidence in their abilities in this area, aggravated by a lack of social support and the prevalence of political coercion, according to the study, based on the results of the report Politics, rights and quality of life in Cuba. The first multidimensional panel 2022 and the various surveys carried out by Cubadata between 2022 and 2023.

The report highlights that women in Cuba doubt their ability to influence the country’s reality, which the study’s author, academic Aristides A. Vara-Horna, attributes in part to “the underrepresentation of women in political spaces.”

Although in the National Assembly of Popular Power women represent 55.7% of the deputies, they do not have real power. According to official statistics from the Cuban Observatory on Gender Equality, women make up just 18.5% of ministry heads. There is a clear gender gap among the highest decision-making positions on the Council of Ministers.

In this same regard, the study suggests that limited access to political information, due to domestic responsibilities borne disproportionately by women, can restrict their knowledge and understanding of politics and, therefore, their ability to participate fully.

Moreover, in times of food shortages, women, especially mothers and caregivers of other family members, can be disproportionately affected. It is a situation that can deplete or drastically reduce the time and energy that women would devote to political participation.

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