Cuban women celebrate March 8 International Women´ Day with important achievement and promising realities, which prove that discrimination and gender gaps may be overcome in today´s world.
IN Cuba women enjoy an over-80-year expectancy of life, one of the lowest maternal mortality rate and constitute 48 percent of the civil labor, just to mention some of the Cuban women´s achievements in terms of empowerment and vindication of their rights.
Women on the island also make up for 46 percent of high-level leading posts and for 78 percent of all health personnel, 48 percent of scientists and 66 percent of the labor force with the highest technical and professional skills.
On the other hand, 48,86 percent of Cuban parliamentarians are women, thus making the country the second in The Americas with the largest female representation at the legislative body.
Though this reality can still improve in terms of transforming cultural patterns, it does contrasts to other countries of the world, where one in every three women is a victim of physical or sexual violence, with gender unemployment levels higher to those of men, and with lower salaries than those earned by male workers.
Cases like Cuba prove that the empowerment of women as agents of change is a goal that can be achieved as far as its is backed with political will.
Just to illustrate with two examples, the current director of the Havana-based Hematology and Immunology Institute, Doctor in Sciences Consuelo Macias is proud to have dedicated most of her life to her work since she graduated in 1982.
"Here I learned to do research, to undertake projects and I got the best results with the patients I have treated in the past 33 years," said the doctor whose center employs 371 workers out of whom 292 are women.
And also in the less imagined labor activities we find successful women like Barbara Durades, the only one to have participated in 20 sugar cane harvests in Santiago de Cuba.
Cane cutting is no simple task for men or women, it requires will and sacrifice, and your commitment to yourself and the country that allowed us to work in all sectors of society, said Durades, who is only one of the thousand empowered women who have made a revolution within the Revolution, as Cuban leader Fidel Castro once said.
International Women´s Day stresses the fight of women for their social participation on equal grounds to men and for their comprehensive development. The date is marked on March 8 and it is national day in several countries.
In 1972, The UN General Assembly declared 1975 International Women´s Year and invited all states to declare one International Day for the Rights of Women and International Peace according to their own historic traditions.
Cuba was among the Latin American nations to have first marked March 8, in 1931, long before its official declaration by the United Nations in 1975.
The official ceremony to mark International Women´s Day is to take place in central Ciego de Avila City.