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“Working with organized groups of women, in particular, works better for us.” The phrase from Gustavo García, an expert at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), caused me to turn the interview around. I was in Guatemala to write a report on how Dry Corridor farmers are adapting their crops to climate change, and I stopped the conversation to learn more about this idea that the United Nations official had so unexpectedly blurted out without giving it any importance, even if it wasn’t (yet) the center of my story. At the time, he spoke to me about how one of the biggest challenges in working with farming communities is staying organized, especially during election periods when political differences divide the group. They work better with them, García explained to me, partly because they spend more time in the communities — while the men migrate to work as day laborers for a few seasons — but also because “they feel more responsibility and commitment to ensure the nutritional safety of their children.” .
“Most men say, ‘Well, I’ve already gone to work on the farm, here’s the 500 quetzales ($64)’. While the lady is the one who organizes, the one who decides, the one who has to optimize the money. Because of that, they care more about the resources and when it comes to the organization, maybe they do it more consciously and always try to get involved because they see the results they get through the organization,” the FAO expert continues. He also told me that he found less and less rivalry between them. “When there are two male leaders in a community, it is sometimes difficult for them to integrate. On the other hand, if there are two leaders, even if they are from different groups in a community, they do it, they get together and they start working. So in the whole issue of managing community funds and savings, women are also more active, we have had better results, they become more empowered and their capital increases more.”
This conversation took place in June while I was working on the launch stories for América Futura, the sustainable development section of EL PAÍS América that we launched a month later. But the idea has been repeated in other words when speaking of organizations in the rural world and of indigenous, Afro-descended and farmer groups. Where there are women’s groups, the organization tends to be stronger for a reason: their priority is usually the search for the common good. They don’t want anyone left in the family, in the community, in the tribe.
The reflection also emerged in an interview with former Vice President of Costa Rica Epsy Campbell, the first Afro-American woman to hold the position across the continent. Speaking about the crises the world is going through, including the climate crisis, Campbell told me that for her the solution lies in a more feminine approach to leadership that prioritizes the common good over competition.
“We come from a leadership style that is competitive, individualistic, predatory, violent by definition, and has a logic of each’s own. This happens in families, in communities and in countries. It’s a form of male power,” he said at the time. “We must transcend them if we are to sustain ourselves as a species and ensure the planet survives with us.” For her, the change means moving towards a more cooperative and compassionate “female power matrix,” which she likens to the logic of mothers . “All mothers have the idea of preserving the tribe, their little tribe. We must take what has been despised as a model for this new humanity,” he told me.
We have stories of women who fight every day on this continent to preserve their tribe: there are those who search together for their disappeared, those who cry out for their murdered daughters and friends, the migrants who leave everything and their children behind carry weapons within themselves in search of a better future. There are also those that protect crops and seeds that are resilient to climate change to ensure food security, or those that preserve ancestral knowledge and, for example, perpetuate traditional medicine as a healing resource complementary to Western medicine.
I recognize this idea of preserving the tribe also in my own history, in the women in my family, in my friends, in my colleagues who are always there to take care of others, to protect them, for others fight so there is no one left behind. return. Of course, this does not rule out that men also work for the common good. But this search for collective well-being seems to be an intrinsic trait of women, something we can use to our advantage in this fast-paced and competitive world that sometimes weighs us down. What if we pause for a moment, connect a little more to our origins, and exercise that tribal feminism?
These are our recommended articles of the week:
It is the first time in Spain that a party, Vox, has brought together the ideas of this movement that emerged at the end of the 19th century and made them one of the central axes of its argument and strategy.
The attacker, the 21-year-old’s sentimental partner, fled the state ministry in Poncitlán, where he shot the women. The prosecutor asserts that “the aggression was so rapid that it could not be neutralized”.
Mya Villalobos Saldaña is recovering from the multiple stab wounds her ex-boyfriend inflicted on her when the relationship ended, while he is missing due to serious injuries and family violence.
So far, the Penal Code has considered these attacks to be assaults rather than attempted femicide, but a new initiative proposes changing the law to criminalize “acid violence”.
The institution apologizes for publishing a text that suggested using the bodies to “help couples without children”.
The unfortunate comments about actress Michelle Rodríguez reveal a debate laced with gender, racism and the very problematic demands that the market places on actresses.
Pumakawa is a rescue center that takes in cats that are injured or raised for hunting purposes. Their founder, Kai Pacha, is the daughter of a repentant hunter who now lives with these animals, including a blind one.
And a final suggestion:
🇵🇷 👩🏽🎨 ✊🏽 A group of women follows:
Moriviví: the muralists who paint the struggles of Puerto Rico
Female members of the Moriviví collective make murals on the streets of Puerto Rico.MORIVIVÍ
América Futura journalist Noor Mahtani this week introduced the Moriviví collective of Puerto Rican artists and muralists, nine women who have been working with the island and diaspora communities in an urban art project for a decade. “What started as a group of young women looking to carve out a place among the men who monopolize urban art eventually grew into a project of raising awareness and blending with the communities,” explains our partner in this article. “This year they celebrate a decade of a project that defends public art as message and creation from two sides: their talent and the needs of the places they work with.” Here you can take a look at the networks and the work of the collective.