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December 6, 2018

JSCA researchers share their experiences in the context of a 16-day campaign of activism against gender violence.


“It was only three years ago that I realized that it wasn’t normal to be 16, get off the bus, see a man nearby and be afraid that he could abuse me. I was always aware of it, just as all women are. Some of my friends had already had horrible experiences. I was lucky that what happened to me was minor. Most women experience it at some point in their lives.

I decided to fight to change that reality the day I cried in anger and impotence when I found out about a mass rape in Brazil and the violent rape and death of Lucía Pérez in Argentina. Why are women raped and murdered? That anger gave me the belief that I need to change myself and try to change –if only through small acts- the places where I live and the people I interact with. No more violence against women.

Being afraid when you are walking down the street is also violence. Not feeling free to enjoy your sexuality is also violence. Sending sexual photos of women to your friends on WhatsApp is also violence. Double talk is also violence.”

Lorena Espinosa
JSCA Researcher

“Psychological violence is one of the most invisible forms of oppression and de-legitimization of women in society. Growing up believing that only some fields of study are for women, teaching girls that they have to ‘compete’ for the attention of a ‘good man,’ making young women ashamed of their bodies and simultaneously the object of masculine desire, making women feel incapable because they are tired after a triple workday, seeing their ideas at work go unnoticed or appropriated by their bosses, feeling that sensitivity and tenderness are mandatory characteristics for women and criticizing them for being strong or emphatic because those are masculine characteristics and many other explicit and veiled attitudes are violence.

Women can be whatever they want, feel however they want and act however they wish to according to the way they see their role as women in their personal lives and society.

Making us believe that we aren’t capable of doing any sort of work is also violence; making us shut up is also violence; making us feel inferior is also violence. Deciding which personality traits we can have is also violence. Making us feel responsible for having a ‘good family’ is also violence. Repeating that behind every good man there is always a good woman is also violence. Judging women who feel overwhelmed by all of their responsibilities is also violence. Wanting to appropriate a woman’s achievements as her husband, boss or colleague is also violence.”

Paula Ballesteros
JSCA Researcher

“In the world I want to live in, I wouldn’t have to worry about going out alone, traveling alone or knowing whether a place is safe for women. I wouldn’t have to worry about the clothing I wear so that people don’t look at me or worry that a man will put something in my drink so he can harm me. It is exhausting living with fear all of the time- fear that something will happen to me or any other woman.
I want to live in a place where I can be respected, where men treat women with respect, where women aren’t blamed for men’s wrong behavior. I want to live in a place where I won’t be judged as less capable for a job because I am a woman. I want to live in a world where there aren’t certain professions for men and others for women, in a world where everyone follows the path for which they have a vocation. I want to live in a world where every one of us has the same opportunities. I want to live in a world where girls are taught that princes won’t come to save them, and that they have to save themselves.”

Jessica Bueno
JSCA Researcher



“I had the good fortune that not many girls have of growing up with the example of a strong, professional mother who was active in the labor force. In the 1990s, that was the highest level of feminine emancipation we could imagine: a woman out in the work world with a degree of financial independence and even a marriage with separation of assets.

Over time, this ideal started to break down. Are we truly free only by going to university and becoming professionals, by having a job? Is the image of Wonder Woman a source of pride- doing everything at work and at home and looking ‘beautiful’ and ‘feminine’ while doing it?

The data tell us otherwise. Today, only 48.5% of women are in Chile’s paid labor force (INE 2017), while work within the home continues to be invisible and underappreciated. Women who work earn 29.3% less than men on average (ESI 2017) and although they work 2.09 fewer paid hours per day, they spend 2.15 times more time than men on household and care tasks, which is between 3 and 4 hours (ENUT 2015). When they reach 60, between paid and unpaid work, women have worked approximately 369 hours more than men at age 65 [1]. Even so, some people say that the difference in the retirement age is an act of ‘gallantry.’
Caring for family members and managing the household are work. They consume time and energy. They tire women out and more than anything they have a high emotional burden that we have not yet to balance with men despite all of the achievements we have won.

I love my mother as much or more than before, but I look at what her situation has truly been through new eyes, and I want more. I want justice for working women who split themselves to carry the burden that society imposes on them and justice for women who have remained at home for different reasons without receiving recognition or remuneration for the important work that they do. I want all places –public, private, intimate- to be safe spaces and spaces for growth for women, free of violence and abuse. To use the words of the great leader Julieta Kirkwood, ‘democracy in the country, the home and in bed.’

Earning less for the same work is also violence. Not enjoying retirement in spite of having worked one’s entire life working unlimited hours is also violence. Having the burden of the household fall entirely to us is also violence. Being asked if we are thinking about having children during a job interview is also violence. Saying that leadership and rationality are masculine traits is also violence.”

María Jesús Valenzuela Suárez
JSCA Methodology Specialist, Member of the JSCA Gender Committee

[1] Based on 240 days of work per year starting at age 20. This may be even higher if we consider the fact that unpaid work also is done on weekends and holidays and begins at an earlier age than paid work.



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