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PV Challenges: “Decisions are made by the man of the house. Women must keep their opinions to themselves”

In 2018, Marina Subirats, an expert in feminism, coeducation, and education for equality, gave her opinion on the book “Emilio” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, considered a benchmark in education. The philosopher highlights the importance of reinforcing children’s freedom and self-confidence. However, in one chapter, in particular, Rousseau mentions that girls specifically must be contradicted to prevent them from believing that they have an opinion of their own.

Was Rosseau seeking to change the traditional role of women or to perpetuate it?

Growing up in a society that prioritizes the opinions of men and rarely questions their actions creates many challenges for women who want to play a larger role in the public sphere and aspire to positions of leadership and decision-making. 

Growing up in a society that prioritizes the opinions of men and rarely questions their actions creates many challenges for women who want to play a larger role in the public sphere and aspire to positions of leadership and decision-making. 

The most common challenge to participating in these spaces is the commonly held belief that women do not have solid or valid opinions about the functioning of reality and social problems, and that their role should be focused on household chores and caring for others by instinct. Thus, Salvadoran women also face this situation in their homes and family groups, where it remains a challenge to gain access to power and to make decisions in daily life.

So what can be done to enact change?

The Women’s Empowerment Project (WEP), which just welcomed a new cohort of women entrepreneurs to the latest installment of the two-year program, aims to develop educational processes focused on enhancing life skills and gender equality. Among these life skills, decision-making capacity is vitally important as an element to be strengthened within entrepreneurs, as a first step towards empowerment.

The fundamental purpose of Programa Velasco is to accompany our participants along the path to rediscover their strengths and self-confidence as women and to give value to their voices in the different areas of their life. This program is a small step on the way to a future where women and men can both have their say and make decisions equally and fairly.

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