57th Anniversary of the Federation of Cuban Women
Telesur | Thursday, 24 August 2017 | Click here for original article
The organisation paved the way for gender rights during the Revolution and in its aftermath.
57 years ago, the Federation of Cuban Women, FMC, was founded just 12 months after Cuba's revolution.
The FMC brought together several organisations in an effort to defend women's rights.
It also paved the way for women during the revolutionary process in the Caribbean nation through programs like the Cuban literacy campaign, a nationwide effort to eradicate illiteracy following the 1959 revolution.
The organisation also formed alliances with the new ministries including Education, Health, Justice and Labour to ensure women's issues received their due importance.
The FMC was formed by Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary and led by the Vilma Espin — a committed revolutionary who fought during General Fulgencio Batista's dictatorship.
Espin who was also President Raul Castro's wife, championed the cause of gender equality in the nation.
Her efforts led to the Cuban Constitution adopting a criminal code - those prosecuted for any gender or racial discrimination could face up to two years in prison.
In terms of reproductive rights, Cuba became the first country in Latin America to legalise abortion in 1965.
Espin who converted her home in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba into the headquarters of the revolutionary movement, also formed a women's guerrilla front called “Mariana Grajales” in the Sierra Maestra.
Almost 90 percent of Cuban women over 14 years of age, more than four million people, are members of the FMC.
A 2015 World Economic Forum report equated the U.S. and Cuba in terms of gender equality.