Costa Rica: Feminists agree to articulate a joint struggle against fundamentalism

By Nathalia Rojas /Feminist International Radio (Radio Internacional Feminista)

During the 2011 Feminist Women National Encounter, women of different ages, academic backgrounds and experience agreed to work with other social movements to generate common agendas for action, in order to promote the advancement of their rights and combat the new expressions of conservative fundamentalists in Costa Rica.

Under the motto "autonomous, transgressive and diverse", the meeting took place from 23 to 25 September in the premises of the Universidad Estatal a Distancia, in Sabanilla. The event was attended by more than 90 women who presented their views on working groups, expressed their main concerns and developed proposals to promote synergy both outside and within feminism in Costa Rica.
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Within the common points, the participants underlined the need to establish a secular State, which would boost   - albeit not a final solution -  an opening on issues like children and teenagers’ sexual education,  the reactivation of in vitro fertilization the recognition of unions between different sex options and the decriminalization of abortion.
"Feminism convokes, represents a position, a needed  philosophy and ethics in view of a reality women have found that is not good, with problems such as violence, discrimination, xenophobia, racism and neo-liberalism, "  said Roxana Arroyo, one of the organizers of the meeting.

At the Internal level, the attendees concluded that work is needed jointly from women with a feminist background and the new activists in order to address the social, economic and political challenges Costa Rica faces today.

For the participants, there is an increase of violence against people who choose for options different from those conventionally established; adding to the fact that the feminist movement is socially stigmatized.  It was also analyzed that many women who reach power positions are not interested in the causes of the movement.

A more proactive attitude, creating feminism study groups and a constant use of social networks to promote gender awareness in young women and men, were other proposals to combat the patriarchal system and the attack from the religious fundamentalists.  Arroyo added that now new joint avenues must be found in order to allow the feminist movement in Costa Rica to strengthen and to continue the legacy. On partnerships with other sectors, she said there was need to further the dialogues, as long as those groups recognize the feminists as political subjects.  The last feminist encounter took place three years ago.  For next time, regional meetings will be held involving a larger number of rural women.

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