Sexism in Latin America: What’s the cultural cost to pay?
Sexism and gender violence exist all over the planet, is not a problem unique to a region or a country, but it is clear that there are societies in arrears on gender equality.
Countries from Central America like El Salvador and Honduras, have very high rates of femicide exceeding the figures in this respect from any country, and even Brazil and Mexico have serious problems in this area.
Currently in Mexico the authorities have issued a "gender alert" by the high number of murders of women in the state of Morelos and in the state of Mexico. Both territories surrounding the Federal District, the capital. According to the Observatory of Femicide in Mexico, between 2011 and 2012 it was reported the disappearance of 1,258 girls and women only in the state of Mexico.
According to UN data, it is estimated that there are 120,000 cases of rape each year in Sao Paulo, Brazil in Mexico, a woman is sexually assaulted every 15 seconds.
In addition to this unfortunate extreme situation of murders of women in Latin American countries are everyday cases where women are verbally abused and sexually harassed in public places. An investigation by the Thompson Reuters Foundation said the three most dangerous systems for public transport are women in Latin America: Bogota, Mexico DF and Lima.
Everything previously mentioned does not mean that in the late years sexism against women has increased in the continent, it would more an indicator of the empowerment of women in Latin America and the non-acceptance to this behaviors with pass of the years, increasing in that way the numbers of dilations. Women are raising their voices more than they did.
What we cannot deny is the fact that sexism still exists, and that it has consequences and costs for Latin America.
To start, even though Latin America is a continent with many women in administrative positions, the continent is still rejecting women in many fields. Mathematics, physic, chemistry, engineering and many others professional careers are still consider men fields.
The result is Latin America is losing potential in many areas because of this historical behavior against women development.
Another point to take into account that might even sound kind of funny is that Latin America is losing men earlier because of sexism.
Yes, it sounds weird.
In the world there are older women than men. There are more widows than widowers, more grandmothers than grandparents.
Millions of healthy elderly women are employed in caring for their ailing husbands.
In Latin American countries, women live, on average, between 2 and 8 years longer than men
And in most civilizations on earth, even without statistics, women generally, they live longer than men.
Why does this striking difference exist in life expectancy between one sex and another?
The reason is none other than the macho culture. No need to look for genetic or religious reasons.
Men smoke more. Men drink more alcohol. Men eat larger amounts of fatty meats. Men drive faster cars and more often develop aggressive personalities that generate stress and nervous tension.
As a result of these and other behaviors, men suffer more heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. Men die more often than women because of lung cancer and liver cirrhosis. Men have more car accidents. Attack more than women.
Machismo explains the difference in a short or long life between men and women.
Didn’t we get and education with the belief that it is the man who eats what he pleases, smokes two packs of cigarettes a day, and endures more than anyone drinking liquor?
Isn’t it more virtuous in Latin America for men to attack rather than preventing violence, resolving conflicts?
This does not mean neither that women in Latin America do not act this way, but let’s face reality we were raised like this.
Latin Americans, women and men, we have to keep working on the sexism behavior we have historically inherited. At the end is not about equality but about equity, being honest, we are not the same, we have differences, but we are all humans and deserve the same.