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2020: gender, at the center of the agenda

It was never a matter of magic or riddles. To discover that gender issues must occupy the main place in the agenda of our time, it is enough to go through life with eyes and ears open.


Almost 10 years ago, in an impromptu interview, some reporters asked the US Secretary of State why in all their international tours she insisted on placing female empowerment as a priority on the agenda of each country he visited. “Very simple, because all the big challenges of today cross the gender issue.” Economy, politics, security, environment, everything goes through an issue that directly involves at least half the population of the planet.


As in literary stories, great forces of the universe line up to shake the life of a central character – generally small and vulnerable – whose feelings and adventures we accompany as readers, today it is quite clear that the fate of our species will depend on the way in which that we be able to address problems such as violence against women, inequality in economic opportunities, the powerful culture of machismo and abuse of power.


It is true that in most countries, girls and young people already obtain better academic results than boys; It is true that in a good part of the so-called emerging economies, the proportion of women in spaces of political leadership has increased significantly; Even in the universe of large corporations, the gap between the payment between male and female executives begins to diminish.


Female genital mutilation, femicide, discrimination (especially against poor and dark-skinned women) and a wide range of behaviors related to the macho and authoritarian culture that has been predominant over the centuries in the greater part of the planet remain a reality at the entrance to the third decade of the third millennium.


The problems remain numerous and, on various countries, however, there are also clear signs that a change of era is in process. From the mass culture itself in which the decorative princesses are a poor model before the new heroines with the ability to defeat the worst monsters and realize their own dreams, to the political life where the owner of the contests of traditional beauty has been discovered as a vulgar character, cartoon of gallant, an abuser who wants to hide his sexual scandals with money.


From #MeToo to the polls


While the wave of women’s empowerment seems like a social phenomenon impossible to stop, the year twenty-twenty will be marked by several important crossroads on this issue. Perhaps the fundamental will occur on the first Tuesday of November during the US presidential election.


Beyond the ability of President Trump to turn his country’s policy into a kind of entertainment show in which he has been able to navigate from scandal to scandal based on the worst prejudices of his generation (the angry old white man), extreme isolationism and right-wing populism, without a doubt the gender factor will be key in the outcome of the elections.


Genius of self-promotion, public manipulation and the manufacture of an alternate reality species in which neither values nor facts have a place, the candidate Trump can face the main fall of support in the white female electorate, middle class and evangelical affiliation between your electoral base.


In addition to the impeachment process that shows him as a cheater character who is able to ally with what was the old communist bloc to try to annoy his internal enemies, his aggressive actions against migrant children, his attacks on the Dreamers are two issues that have been particularly badly received by American public opinion.


If you add to that a possible Democratic candidate – Elizabeth Warren – and an eventual return to the stage of Hillary Clinton, who indicated him as “Putin’s puppet” in the previous electoral process, it is clear that an eventual defeat of one of one of the figures more associated with the discrimination of women would be a clear symbol of progress in gender matters at a global level.


Green scarves in macho lands


Those of Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Spain are societies that currently live the effervescence of various social movements that have brought large crowds, especially young people, to the streets and squares with different types of claims.


Within the framework of a regional political realignment – Latin America without Fidel Castro, with a free Lula but widely associated with the corruption of its closest and with the post-Chavez Venezuela in a frank state of decomposition -, the chair of the new great leader of the left seems reserved for the president of Mexico.


On the left in his economic agenda – reducing inequality is where he puts his political capital and the big money of his government – President López Obrador seems more in line with a Christian (evangelical) agenda on social issues. Neither the decriminalization of abortion, the fight against gender violence or the legalization of marijuana have been placed top or his agenda.


Therefore, the irruption in the Mexican public agenda of various feminist groups – most of them young and university – who shouted and even vandalized various public spaces repudiate feminicides – 9 newspapers in the country – and demand the end of harassment and violence against women, in an issue that has baffled the conventional political class. Articulated and brave, the new generation of activists, have been able to conquer the public opinion with a perfect bite: “what matter the most, some stone monuments or the body of a girl raped and murdered?”.


Something similar occurs in Chile and Argentina, where along with the claims against “neoliberalism,” the gender agenda has also taken over the streets and the public agenda of those countries.


Certainly, in the other half of Latin America – only Brazil is in several ways – social expressions in favor of gender equity have not reached the volume that in Mexico and the United States itself. Considering the relevance that the issue has for the economic, social and political development of all societies, they will surely do so soon.

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