Last week, I participated in the XI Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentro. The central theme of this year’s Encuentro was “Challenging Fundamentalisms.” Despite the deteriorating situation affecting women in the region, many historical opportunities for women to organize themselves have surfaced in the past twenty years.
Feminists and women’s organizations have contributed tremendously to giving voice to those women who have been silenced. Since the the 1980s, Latin American feminists have been building networks of advocacy and activism, weaving political linkages and constructing regional identities and forms of solidarity through the Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentros. This year's Feminist Encuentro was particularly crucial to the growth and sustainability of the Latin American and Caribbean feminist movement as a whole. Women’s movements in Latin America have made great strides since their emergence decades ago, but many of those gains are being threatened in recent years because of regional and global shifts toward conservative political ideologies, religious fundamentalism, economic neo-liberal policies and cultural norms that attack women’s human rights. The feminist movement itself is at risk of losing some of its strength and impact because of conflicts within and between movements. I hope the XI Encuentro will enable feminist activists and women’s rights defenders to strategize together to overcome some of the most pressing challenges facing women in the region.
Visit the official web site of the XI Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentro (Spanish) Erika Guevara Rosas is the Global Fund Program Officer for the Americas