Friday 22 September 2023

Costa Rica’s “machista culture” does not tolerate electing new woman president

Parity in the 2024 municipal elections will allow record appointment of female mayors

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QCOSTARICA – As long as a “machista culture”  persists in Costa Rica and there is an important group of men who do not believe in the capacity of women, the idea of our country electing a woman President again would be complicated.

However, it is also true that practically all parties are aware of the need to educate and improve the conditions for new female leaders to emerge, while “women’s commitment” gains more space and relevance with each electoral process.

In 202 years of Costa Rican history, Laura Chinchilla is the only woman to have been elected to the position of president

“Training, true parity policies, respect for horizontal parity in popularly elected posts, and the punishment of political violence with instructive sanctions would help to change the landscape faster.

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“Likewise, it is urgent to strengthen the daycare network so that more women do not find themselves impeded in their political, professional and educational growth,” said former president Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014).

“Measures have been promoted but not with enough strength and determination to have a more decisive impact. For example, the care network has not had the required political and financial support in the governments that succeeded me,” added the former president.

Meanwhile, Carolina Delgado, a Partido Liberación National (PLN) legislator and former president of that party’s National Women’s Movement, said on political violence in the country:“The more women participate in politics, the more we are going to see (political) violence. This situation should lead us to raise awareness that now men and women have the same rights, the same opportunities, and the same conditions,” said Delgado.

At this time, Costa Rica has the most equal Legislative Assembly in its entire history with the appointment of 27 women legislators out of 57 possible; however, a large gap persists in municipal matters, where the elected women mayors can be counted on one hand, since today, 92% of these positions are dominated by men.

That is why there is great expectation for the electoral process in February 2024, where the new mayors, trustees, and aldermen will be elected.

This is because for the first time, there will be horizontal and vertical parity in all positions.

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“The implementation of more public and leadership positions for women is going to make a big difference. However, it is not only about giving more quotas, but also about capacity. Many women are community leaders and there they have a lot to contribute,” said Johana Obando, a representative of the Partido Liberal Progresista (PLP) political party.

Better job opportunities, education and the fight against violence in all areas are some of the most pressing issues for women.

“There are many issues that need to be worked hard. It is important to attack unemployment among women, where more than 159,000 are waiting for an opportunity. For this, it is very important to focus on STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers, which is also a big bet for attracting investment and the business climate in the country. It is also necessary to strengthen education at an early age, so that mothers have adequate options for the care of their children,” said Daniela Rojas, head of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) party.

Much remains to be done to achieve true equity.

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According to former-president Chinchilla, among the obstacles that affect women’s participation in politics and holding leadership positions are: 1. unpaid work linked to the fact that household and family tasks continue to fall on them: 2. the greatest difficulties facing the man to access resources for campaign financing; 3. the prejudices and biases that continue to weigh on the image of women; 4. the growing political violence against women.

“Measures have been promoted in all these areas, but not with sufficient force and determination to have a more decisive impact. For example, the care network has not had the required political and financial support in the governments that followed me”, said Chinchilla.

Legislator Delgado added that: “The parties are called to carry out an effective insertion of gender and equity issues from their programmatic bases, far from being a simple electoral machine.

Legislator Obando is of the opinion that “Costa Rica has not advanced enough to recognize that women have all the capabilities to lead a country. There are presidents who did not have a good role and despite this, their judgment has not been as strong as in the case of Doña Laura (Chinchilla). There are men who do not accept that there are women with all the necessary capacities to lead the country.”

In celebration of International Women’s Day, today, March 8, we take the opportunity to list outstanding women who raise the name of Costa Rica in the world:

Image from La Republica
  1. Laura Chinchilla, former president of Costa Rica
  2. Epsy Campbell, President of the PAHO Hemispheric Commission on Mental Health and Covid-19
  3. Silvia Hernandez, Chief of Staff of the Executive Secretary of ECLAC
  4. Sandra Cauffman, Director of the NASA Astrophysics Division
  5. Alice Rojas, Microbiologist
  6. Cathy Hackl, CEO at Futures Intelligence Group
  7. Andrea Meza, UN Deputy Executive Secretary against Desertification
  8. Monica Araya, Electric Mobility Consultant
  9. Yokasta Valle, World Boxing Champion
  10. Noyle Salazar, Mountain Athlete
  11. Nathalie Alvarez, Film Director
  12. Antonella Sudasassi, Film Director and Producer
  13. Debi Nova, Singer
  14. Daniela Martén, Artist
  15. Aimee Joaristi, Visual artist
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