Thursday, September 1, 2011

Strengthening women's political participation/Fortaleciendo la participación política de las mujeres

In the week before the election, I have been pulled in several different directions: my work at the radio, my involvement with the two Maya women running for congress, and managing visits of my daughter and a friend of hers who wanted to help out with my project.  At the last minute (a day or two ago) I received an invitation via email for a half-day conference on women's political participation. This came from the Guatemalan Federation of Radiophonic Schools (FGER), an association of religiously-based community radio stations, in collaboration with MOLOJ (an organization that promotes Mayan women's political participation) and the United Nations Women's Fund. I had met the folks from FGER several weeks ago, in my efforts to find out "the lay of the land" in terms of community radio in Guatemala. I had visited their headquarters and briefly interviewed the director, and had also met a few other of their staff, one of whom, Fredy, turned up at a forum that Ixmukané had organized last week with candidates for congress (from all the political parties). So, I am here as a "social communicator" and two of my compañeras from Ixmukané are here as "lideresas" (apologies to Camilo, but that's the word they are using).  

The morning started off about an hour and half after the announced time, with about sixteen people present.  It is hard to evaluate, from a distance, what is the relative weight and importance of any particular event. Today I was also invited, for example, to accompany the two candidates, Doña Matilde and Doña Fermina, on campaign visits to Joyabaj and Zacualpa. I had already accepted the invitation to attend this event, but I had a moment's second thought yesterday. And I'm not entirely certain I made the right choice. But here I am.

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