Peruvian Women's Movements: A Rainbow of Movements
Huls Pareja, A.
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My father was born in The Netherlands in the year 1950. At age 23, seeking adventure and following an exciting job, he moved to Cochabamba, Bolivia. The same year, my Bolivian mother, 20 at the time, had managed to run away from Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile where she had been studying economics. She was trying to continue with her education in Cochabamba. My parents met during a hectic and turbulent time, both socialist thinkers and politically devoted people, believed in equality and freedom for all. Most of their dedication towards political activism changed very little after my birth in 1984. As a baby, I was brought to many meetings and slept through clouds of cigarette smoke and passionate conversations over Bolivia’s political situation. It is not a coincidence that throughout my childhood I became very conscious of the reality outside my safe home. As a half Bolivian, half Dutch individual, my upbringing was caught between two worlds. Due to my father’s job, I grew up moving between Bolivia, Peru and Nicaragua. This unusual childhood made me grew up faster, and it forced me to step out of my comfort zone. In my memory, Latin America is a place of richness, beauty, tradition, family, devotion, hard work and passion in contrast to a harsh reality of poverty, hunger, inequality, frightening differences and political instability. I recognize my privileged position, and I have to consider how I have ben influenced by western education as much as I have been influenced by my surroundings. My interest in feminism was instigated by a sense of self-awareness and anger towards violence and abuse. Feminist thought has taught me not to make assumptions or try to speak on behalf of others but myself. My desire with this thesis is to learn how women in Peru have found ways to empower themselves, despite the harsh circumstances they faced in dissimilar environments. Peru’s history, as the history of other Latin American countries, is marked by a colonial past, a struggle to gain independence from Spanish domain, followed by a series of unstable governments, military governments and a constant battle to obtain and sustain democracy. The country has been hit by a severe economic crisis and terrorism, and both have scarred the nation deeply. (Vargas, 1990)