January 25 marks the Honduran Women’s Day, celebrated in memory of a historic date in which a major political conquest was achieved by the female population of Honduras, whose political rights were recognized through Decree No. 29 of 1955.
Through this presidential decree, approved by the administration of Julio Lozano Diaz, Honduran women could enjoy their political rights and get recognized their right to vote and to participate in the political activity of the country, thus going beyond the domestic space to an electoral and public arena.
The first time Honduran women participated in national elections was in the period from 1957 to 1963 when Ramon Villeda Morales was elected. Some limitations established at that time were for example, that only women who could read had the right to vote, despite most women were illiterate at the time.
Another negative aspect was the limited participation in elected offices. Unfortunately at present, although there is the Law of Equal Opportunities, women today, like yesterday, are still voting for male candidates, denying opportunities to many capable and honest women.
Women must conquer those political spaces by means of struggle and organized strategy. These spaces are not be accepted as gifts that presuppose gratitude and submission, but as gains achieved by their own efforts.
The women’s movement for their rights
Women’s movements in Honduras date from early last century. They are subsisting and expanding every day, despite the divisions, weaknesses and difficulties they face permanently.
From the 20’s comes the first women’s organization known as “Women’s Cultural Society” directed by Graciela Garcia and other known leaders who fought tenaciously for the vindication of Honduran women.
This movement promoted various cultural activities, contributed to the organization of workers and maintained the struggle against the 16-year dictatorship of Tiburcio Carias Andino.
The decade of the 50’s saw the begining of the Federation of Honduran Women’s Associations, inspired by the international suffrage movement. They fought together with other women for political rights, in the pursuit of achievements in the legal arena, leaving unresoveld the achievement of full citizenship.
It is from that time that our country witnessed the creation of a series of structures that had the primary purpose of giving protection to women and to assert their rights.
Interestingly, seven decades after these major battles and achievements, women are still demanding the same rights, in maquiladoras and other fields.
The historical contribution of the women organizations that have worked in the promotion and protection of the rights of Honduran women should be recognized and made visible, because here in Honduras, as in Central America and most of Latin America, the contribution of women in our history have been obscured.
Among the women’s organizations that make efforts to assert the rights and achievements of women we could cite: Movement of Women for Peace “Visitacion Padilla”, Feminist Collective of University Women, Center for Women’s Rights CDM, Center for Women Studies-Honduras CEM-H, Honduran Association of Rural Women, Black Women Link, Association of Honduran Rural Women, Women’s Movement of the Lopez Arellano Residential Zone MUMUCLA, and Coordinator Block of Southern Women, among other valuable organizations.
Source: Vida Laboral, Edition #13.
Taken from La Tribuna, of January 25, 2011.