A special women's meeting


A special meeting was held last November 5 in the Cuban capital. It was attended by interviewees and writers of a book entitled En primera persona (In First person).

Containing the testimonies of 49 Cuban women, the book was put together by SEMlac with support from the Spanish Development Cooperation Agency (AECID) and the National Sex Education Center (CENESEX).

"It involves women from all walks of life," stressed gender and communication expert Isabel Moya, whose testimony closes the book.

Filmmaker Lizette Vila highlighted the pluralistic value of the publication, while literary researcher Zaida Capote emphasized how interesting and revealing these women's stories are.

CENESEX director Mariela Castro thanked the writers for selecting her for the book.

It includes writers, farmers, painters, filmmakers, engineers, truck drivers, chefs, athletes, doctors, environmentalists, journalists, teachers, lawyers, and architects.

"It clearly shows how local women have been empowered and how they are still fighting manifestations of patriarchal culture," Moya remarked.

AECID representative Gemma García indicated that the book gives food for thought. "It is, above all, a work of Cuban women," she added.

Health promoter Wendy Iriepa was taken by surprise when she was invited to be part of the project. "I am a man-to-woman transsexual. There are many others like me, enduring a huge social burden and often unable to freely say what we think and feel," she noted.

Weight lifter Tamara Hernández was also surprised. "I am only 23 years old," she commented.

Economist Teresa Lara indicated that the book had made it possible for her and other women like environmentalist Irania Martínez to speak about things that cannot be discussed at congresses or meetings.

Veterinarian Dilcia García recalled that her life has dramatically changed after she started working on gender issues.

Capote came up with the idea of establishing a women's network (involving book writers and interviewees) and having the text available at public libraries all over the country.

Reporter Julia Osendi considered the possibility of making a documentary film based on the book.

Editor Sara Más concluded that there are still many life stories to be told.

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