Attention! Attention! Rural Women are Marching!
October 15 marks the International Day of Rural Women, as declared in 2007 by the United
Nations. Rural Salvadoran women from all over the country came together to celebrate
their day with the Second Rural Women’s National Congress in San Salvador. While various issues could have been chosen, this year the group decided to focus on food sovereignty and security.
As an extension of the one-day meeting and in celebration of the International Day of Food
Sovereignty, on Tuesday, October 16, organized rural women marched from Cuscatlán
Park to the Legislative Assembly. The women organized the march to draw attention to
the many needs and struggles that rural Salvadoran women face in their daily lives, and to pressure members of the Legislative Assembly to consider their demands.
Women from all 14 departments participated, stopping traffic with their banners, batucada drumming, and chanting. “Attention! Attention! Rural Latin American women are marching!” was one of the many slogans shouted during the march through downtown San Salvador. Both young and older women took part, mothers brought their children, and a few supportive men dotted the march as well.
Several participants shared their thoughts with us. Many we talked to work with SHARE counterparts or members of SHARE sister communities. Santos, from the community of Huisisilapa in northern La Libertad, spoke about food security. “This march is important because this is the only way [the Legislative Assembly members] will recognize us, remember that here in the city, we [rural women] are valuable. We grow and produce the food they eat here.” Irma, one of the members of the batucada drumming group Crescente Batucada (formerly known as Sihua Batucada), reflected on the meaning of the march, “We are participating in this march in order to encourage other women, to show them ‘Yes, we can!’” Irma is also a former SHARE high school scholarship recipient. She graduated in 2011.
The event ended at the doors to the Legislative Assembly. Leaders of the Rural Women’s Congress and march organizers met at the entrance to the Assembly to present a letter to FMLN parliamentarians, declaring the necessity of national policies geared toward women’s development, including a focus on gender equality, environmental sustainability, and food security and sovereignty. Parliament members Emma Julia Fabian Hernandez from the department of La Libertad and Delia López from Chalatenango came out to receive the leaders and march organizers, and affirm their support for the document presented by the group of rural women who marched and gathered at the Assembly entrance. Members of the press were also in attendance throughout the march to capture images and video of the presentation at the doors of the Legislative Assembly.