PV challenges: “Women should stay home cleaning and taking care of their children”

Much is said about how equality between men and women is growing. Despite some achievements, something that has not yet changed in El Salvador is that women are expected to stay at home, run their household and  care for their children without having another option.

But are people aware that women have other options?

In most cases, no. This story repeats itself among many entrepreneurs who participate in our Women’s Empowerment Project (WEP). They are so used to hearing that fulfilling the role of caregiver is their duty and purpose in life that they have no reason or time to question it.

The WEP challenges this social mandate and presents them with another alternative of how they can use their time and interests. During the personal empowerment workshops, an activity of Organizing Your Time is carried out to reflect on gender roles and determine the time dedicated to household activities, entrepreneurial activities, and time for themselves.

During the activity, they realize that from Monday to Friday, the greatest number of hours is dedicated to working at home and within their businesses, which for the majority is also run from their home. For example, out of 15 participants in La Javia, Tepecoyo, only 2 entrepreneurs took time to take a nap or listen to music or rest during the workweek. These few activities didn’t even include going out of the house and reflects how much time they as women spend at home.

In one of the workshops, an entrepreneur expressed how important it was for her to attend the WEP activities despite other people’s opinions. She mentioned that a neighbor assured her by saying, “If you were my wife,   I  would not allow you to attend those types of activities. ”

For several participants leaving their homes is a challenge considering that they have been educated and raised with the understanding that the ideal woman is a mother who should stay at home, take care of their children, cook, fetch water, clean, and do various other unpaid care work activities.

Programa Velasco’s efforts are focused on supporting the entrepreneurs in strengthening their personal and economic empowerment and as a result, gain back some of their freedom. The WEP guides entrepreneurs to make changes in the distribution of responsibilities and dedicate more time to themselves and to their self-care.

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