Date: 23 February 2009
Oaxaca — In order to encourage indigenous women across Latin America to take on roles that influence decision making processes, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has launched a leadership programme in collaboration with UNIFEM, the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples and the Indigenous Intercultural University.
The diploma programme will serve as a forum where indigenous women can share their experiences, hone their analytical skills and develop their social transformation strategies, with the objective of eliminating inequality and exclusion.
“The leadership in indigenous communities has become more female and younger over the years”, stated the Director of the Mexican Multicultural Programme at UNAM, Jose del Val Blanco, at the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by representatives of native communities from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and Mexico.
Mirna Cunningham from the Center for Indigenous Peoples' Autonomy and Development (CADPI) in Nicaragua noted that indigenous women had for a long time participated as protagonists of political processes and questioned current state structures. “However, despite this tradition, we are still invisible in a lot of processes. We prepare food and participate in marches, but not in decision making processes. … Therefore, the programme enhances the transfer of women’s knowledge and experience between generations, and facilitates partnerships between indigenous women and supporting institutions in order to make their voices heard on all levels.”