“Vivir en la esparanza; Live in Hope”. This quote comes from Reverend Dr. Ofelia Ortega Suárez. She spoke at the UN Church Center Friday, July 17, 2015, on the topic of “Women in a Changing Cuba”. You could not ask for a better person to speak on this topic than Dr. Suárez. She was the first woman to be ordained in a reform church in Latin America. Furthermore, she has worked closely with Christian Institute for Gender Studies, as well as been extremely active on the World Council of Churches at the UN. She was able to give some background information on the situation in Cuba, and how it is a growing and changing country. The discussion began by providing some background on the history of Cuba, then engaged in focusing on the issues surrounding Cuban women. Listed below are some major points shared during the conversation.
- Unfavorable demographics: Since people are living longer, and having fewer children, there is a growing population. This means that there are fewer people in the workforce, as well as fewer people to take care of the elderly.
- Migration: A lot of young women are leaving the country, which leaves this population lacking.
- The Glass Ceiling: As an issue that women all over the world face, the glass ceiling can be described as, ‘unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.’
- A Disadvantage in the Church Setting: They are often kept from holding positions, and being ordained: a topic that Dr. Suárez is clearly well versed in.
- Question: What does Cuba do to address issues with Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights?
- Question: How does a patriarchal society negatively affect men?
- Question: How can you use your religious background to educate on SRHR?