Revisiting the associative movement from a feminist perspective

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At a global level, women have a greater presence in associations working on care and services to others, as well as cultural and social ones. But then we see a much lower participation of women in unions or political associations.

Georgina Rodríguez

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Gender area responsible of the CNJC and member of the Secretariat.

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The youth associative movement mirrors the society around it. This is obvious, but all too often we are not aware of this and we don’t actually see the attitudes that are displayed within the associative fabric or the roles we develop.

At a global level, women have a greater presence in associations working on care and services to others, as well as cultural and social ones. But then we see a much lower participation of women in unions or political associations; this is also true for the roles we play within organizations, where there is also a lower participation of women in decision-making and representation spaces.

In everyday life, women carry a double burden, because once we leave work we then have to perform reproductive work. We do what is expected from us in our associations and on top of that we self-impose on ourselves the tasks to ensure that everyone feels comfortable in the associations: not only do we lead common projects, but we also support and coordinate all of this structure. Despite all of this, we come up against a glass ceiling and a wage gap that stop us from making it into positions offering greater security, recognition and better salaries. You might spend your time in your organization performing admin tasks, but you are never in the picture or in a position with public exposure. And if we try taking it to the field of family reconciliation, then the picture is devastatingly grim. And the ones leading the feminist change towards a more horizontal and egalitarian society are the youth. Every day we revisit the dynamics and the roles in our organizations and taking all possible measures to end these inequalities.

Take a moment to think about your organization: who does maintenance tasks at the office? Who cleans the place? Who leads internal training and dynamics? And who takes on public tasks? Who runs the day-to-day logistics and who takes over extra-ordinary events? Who is in charge of making statements and public events? Who applies for and justifies grants and who meets with the Administration? Who is the one reminding everyone that it’s someone’s birthday and solves conflicts? If the answers to these questions match a closed, binary system, then we must continue working to narrow the gender gap in our associations.

That said, we should not be defeatist or blame the associative movement that, as mentioned before, is mirroring society. It is simply important to emphasize the need to continue working towards the eradication of patriarchal structures and the privileges and problems they entail for our associations. We must continue to work hard to bring value to the reproductive and often invisible tasks, and also work on plans for equality in our organizations and create protocols against male chauvinistic aggressions. Ultimately, we will again go out into the streets on March 8th to prove that the associative movement has been and continues to be a tool for social change and transformation not only externally but also internally.

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