Women’s pain and suffering

Stories of women’s pain and suffering are being increasingly reflected in audiovisual materials. They show how much progress still needs to be made toward gender equity and citizen protection on the island.

Mujeres… la hora dorada (Women… the golden time), a documentary directed by Ingrid León and produced by Palomas, a film production company for social activism, contains heartbreaking testimonies of 12 Cuban women of different ages, occupations, races and marital statuses.

The 30-minute material deals with issues such as gender violence, discrimination, disability, drug addiction, selflessness, censorship, dependence, disease, and even death.

It includes testimonies by Olympic champion Ana F. Quirós, actress Diana R. Suárez, poetess Lina de Feria, a young reporter converted to Islam, a cancer survivor, a mother who has looked after her sick children for over 40 years, a gender-violence victim, a podiatrist who has suffered from achondroplasia since she was born, a teenage mother, a young attorney, and a transsexual girl.

«I found it really important to tell these stories because they tend to go unnoticed. I wanted these women to get involved in a real dialogue and ask and answer their own questions,» León told media representatives at the premiere last October 7 in Havana, where she thanked them all for their courage and dignity.

She was originally trained as a chemist and graduated in 2000. She soon became an assistant director for La Colmenita, a local children’s theater company, during 10 years, until she joined the Palomas Project and began working as an editor, scriptwriter, and co-director of materials on HIV/AIDS and TB prevention, gender inequity, etc.

Her first documentary, Mujeres entre el cielo y la tierra (Women between earth and heaven), revealed the stories of lesbians who are still discriminated against in Cuba today.

Teresa Fernández, an activist working for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people and one of the protagonists in the new documentary, believes that León has always approached local realities from a critical perspective.

«Despite the efforts made by the Revolution in this area, there is still a long way to go,» Fernández indicated.

Palomas has been organizing training and awareness-raising workshops fro 10 years now, and is one of the local networks struggling for gender equality under a National Gender Program that involves a wide range of organizations and institutions.

«These audiovisual materials help develop and implement intervention actions,» project manager Lizette Vila concluded.

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