Magazine article Connexions

El Salvador

Magazine article Connexions

El Salvador

Article excerpt

(Excerpted and translated from "De la Confusion a la Esperanza," in Mujeres en Accion, a publication of ISIS International, Santiago, Chile, Number 4, 1993.)

After decades of civil war and death squad terrorism, El Salvador is embarking on a program of national reconciliation based on the signing of peace accords, investigations by the Truth Commission and the establishment of free elections. The 1994 general elections are called the "elections of the century" and the new government must assure the application of the peace accords and secure a democratic culture.

It is within this context that Mujeres '94 [Women '94], a "pluralistic and independent initiative to find a way to bring the immediate concerns of women into the political arena," was developed last August.

Silvia Matus, member of the Permanent Desk of Mujeres '94, tells how it began. "The idea arose during the preparations for the VI Encuentro. We asked ourselves what sort of actions we could develop in our own country in this respect and we decided to do something for ourselves. Although we are involved with the political parties, never have Salvadoran women said, 'this is what we want.'"

The initiative was born in the Concertacion de Mujeres, "one of the biggest networks of women's organizations in the country," Silvia explains. There they developed a plan to analyze the situation of women in the areas of development, the economy, society, justice and politics. By the end they had planned out the issues that were laid out in the Salvadoran Women's Platform.

During two national meetings about the Platform, they defined their objectives: "First," explains Silvia, "we wanted to strengthen the movement and involve women who were not yet part of it; we were looking to enlarge the proposal and recognize new demands. The other objective referred to the electoral process, how to work with, penetrate, interest and engage the political parties, such that they would include the collaborative planning of women into their own programs." The basic spirit of Mujeres '94 is diversity. In this instance "we have no requirements about who can participate in the Women's Platform and we won't be the tool of any political party. …

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