Debate Magazine

El Problema De La Violencia De Género y El Feminicidio En Honduras

Posted on the 05 April 2013 by Humanwriter @roseforman
Hola from Honduras! I have been in this beautiful and intense country for just 4 days now. My group and I are staying about half an hour away from the capital city, Tegucigalpa. We are having a week of training before going to the small town Marcala, in the La Paz region next week to begin our volunteering work. I shall update on this in the near future.
Today, we had a seminar on women in Honduras by Zoila Madrid, a university professor in Tegucigalpa. This included their place in society and the issues they face. Although this closely relates to feminist ideology I have written about before I thought it was important to provide a bit of a background on gender violence with a focus on Honduras specifically.
Gender discrimination is deep rooted in Honduran, and most Latin American, society, stemming back from colonial influences of Spain and Britain. This occidental culture, Westernised ideology, was brought by the colonisers through their strong faith in the Catholic church and patriarchal social structures. Even now, a couple of hundred years later, this is still the dominant thought process. The divide between masculinity and femininity is rife in all aspects of life, the man is the dominator, he oppresses the female. However, Zoila argued that this is not sustainable, society cannot prosper like this. Only now, with the rise of women's organisations, these social structures are being challenged.
Gender has a much broader meaning than just the male and the female, it represents characteristics which are  inherent in each of us (nurturing, caring) and dictates the roles men and women take on (for example, the woman looks after the children, cooks and cleans). Yet sex defines the fundamental differences between us both, physically and mentally. These differences are translated into inequality. "Being different isn't the problem, being unequal is the problem. Especially when this translates to poverty and violence." It is arguable that what affects one sex will affect the other because of a certain interrelationship between the two. The characteristic of giving birth is biological but the responsibility of raising the child is a social gender construction. Yet both men and women are responsible for the conception of children.
In Honduras, the roles of men and women are not seen to be of the same value. To the extent that if a man was to do a traditional woman's role he is seen to be less masculine and is ridiculed or ostracised. For this reason the mother does not encourage male family members to take on roles, such as child care, cooking or cleaning. Men need to be seen as masculine and doing feminine roles shows weakness. In the same way women who challenge their own gender role and take on work in politics, for example, are ridiculed for not being feminine and can be isolated from society themselves.
This relates to the male/female divide. Man is the public whereas woman represent the private. Traditionally the man is supposed to be the provider while the woman stays at home. However, this is where the system is flawed in Honduras, in particular, as in reality women often provide for the family in fields or factories. Which, in turn might be the reason for the increase in violence in women, in a way to regain a certain level or masculinity and control.

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