There is an urgent need to develop and implement public policies favoring gender equity at home and in society to really encourage population growth on the island. This was the view shared by participants in a meeting of the so-called Afro-Cuban Women’s Group last May 30.
«Many black women and women of mixed race are heads of households and raise their children alone under poverty conditions,» said Yulexis Almeida, a sociology professor at the University of Havana who was the meeting’s moderator.
«The problem remains invisible because there are no race-disaggregated indicators available,» she added.
Research works have shown that fathers do not usually look after and support their children once they get divorced.
Historian Daisy Rubiera indicated that working mothers are finding it difficult to take their children to day-care centers.
Sociologist Niurka Pérez recalled that Cuba has traditionally exhibited low fertility and birth rates.
She highlighted the fact that the main cause of low fertility on the island is closely associated with patriarchal, unequal power relations between men and women.
Historian Oilda Hevia emphasized that women put maternity off, hoping that the economic situation will get better in the country.
Reporter Helen Hernández said that women account for over half of those who leave the country for good.
«Population aging and low fertility should no longer be seen as a problem. There is a need to formulate social policies to provide women with further access to education, the labor market, and public health, including abortion and contraception.
Professor Hildelisa Leal favored the idea of revitalizing household support services, including care for older people.
Meeting participants agreed to make their concerns and demands public, and continue fighting racism and gender inequity in Cuba.