Despite the multiple discussions on the subject, from public and private forums, there is still not only opposition, but also confusion or erroneous constructions on the subject, one of these being the affirmation that gender perspective is synonymous with sexual education. (Ramón “Tonito” Zayas)
Perspective: point of view from which an issue is considered or analyzed.
Gender: group to which human beings of each sex belong, understood from a sociocultural point of view rather than exclusively biological.
Over the past few weeks, the concept of gender perspective has made headlines and covers again. In the most recent debate for the governorship, the candidate of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), Carlos Delgado Altieri , faced problems to make clear his position on education with a gender perspective.
The gender perspective, again, covers everyone, and definitely frees women from the yokes of gender roles and also men
”Verónica Rivera Torres, activist and volunteer of La Ruta de las Mujer
Later, he said that he validated the concept, as long as it “has nothing to do with sexuality.”
Meanwhile, in a previous meeting, the candidate for governor for the Dignity Project , César Vázquez , defined the gender perspective as an “ideology that does not respond to the biological reality of the human race” , a response that, although it found an echo among his followers, also provoked the indignation of those who have studied the subject.
But what is the gender perspective?
The United Nations (UN), through the division of UN Women , defines gender perspective as a way of seeing or analyzing, which consists of observing the impact of gender on people's opportunities, roles and social interactions. .
This look allows, in turn, to identify how roles limit the full human development of women and men, creating inequalities.
“The gender perspective proposes to counteract inequities by creating opportunities and development opportunities for all human beings,” said attorney Verónica Rivera Torres , a member of the La Ruta de las Mujeres initiative of the Matria Project .
The candidate for governor for the PPD, Carlos Delgado Altieri, maintains an ambivalent position on education with a gender perspective. (Xavier Araœjo)
In what was described as a step forward by many sectors, in 2015, the Department of Education issued a circular letter to incorporate the gender perspective into school curricula. However, two years later, the Ricardo Rosselló Nevares administration eliminated this type of teaching.
“The gender perspective encompasses everything and will allow you to identify where there are people who are left behind because of who they are,” explained Rivera Torres.
Despite the multiple discussions on the subject, from public and private forums, there is still not only opposition, but also confusion or erroneous constructions on the subject, one of these being the affirmation that gender perspective is synonymous with sexual education.
Is it about sex ed?
With some regularity, education with a gender perspective is confused with sexual education. However, these are two issues that, although equally important for the integral development of boys and girls, focus on different concepts.
We have to bet that, in any of the issues that are discussed, the gender perspective is a look that we keep in mind
”Osvaldo Burgos, CABE spokesperson
Sex education explores the physiological aspect and sexual behavior of people. Meanwhile, education with a gender perspective examines the social constructs that have arisen regarding how men and women should behave.
“Men do not cry”. “Girls don't play with cars.” “The man is the head of the house.” “Women are housewives.” These phrases are some of those constructs that are heard with a certain normativity.
“When we say that we want education with a gender perspective in schools, what we want, precisely, is for teaching models to be built that start from these premises, that begin to free the minds of our girls and boys from these roles,” she said. Rivera Torres.
To continue playing these roles is to perpetuate violence, he said. “The gender perspective, again, covers everyone and everyone and, definitely, liberates women from the yokes of gender roles and also men,” she said.
So far this year, according to official statistics from the Police Bureau , 29 murders of women of legal age have been reported, six of these victims of gender violence . Two other minors also died in violent incidents.
For Aliana Bigio Alcoba , who, in 2018 created CON (Sentimiento) , a digital platform from which she addresses sexist violence and the fight for equity, the claim is to educate from a perspective that responds to all the people who exist in society.
It is also about transforming that “androcentric” perspective already implemented in school classrooms.
“ Instead of presenting a single perspective, it is to establish that colors do not have genders, to talk about the variety of careers without assigning them a gender and to compile history books and spaces that tell our story in a broad way and not only from the point of view conservative historians. It is betting on a different education, “said Bigio Alcoba.
Ideology versus perspective
This is another of the debates surrounding the request for an education with a gender perspective that has generated confusion and to which local voices have joined in an attempt to stop the claim of groups that fight for equality and equity.
The term ideology is defined by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) as a set of fundamental ideas that characterizes the thinking of a person, group or time, of a cultural, religious or political movement, etc.
Undoubtedly, every group or collective – including detractors of gender ideology – share a set of ideas and thoughts. The difference lies in how and for what that set of ideas is used, said Rivera Torres.
The difference, he added, is that the gender perspective does not seek to impose a vision of the world on society. The gender perspective is an “approximation,” said Torres Rivera.
When we talk about education for equity, from the gender perspective, we are also talking about educating for peace and analyzing the situation in the country
”Amárilis Pagán, activist and co-founder of the Matria Project
“ For us, human rights and respect for human freedom is not negotiable, it is not an idea. We have human rights from the moment of birth, they are inherent to our humanity. It is not a matter of opinion. All groups have an ideology, but ours is a matter of defense of human dignity ”, he added.
For the activist and co-founder of the Matria Project, Amárilis Pagán , the insistence on imposing a negative charge on a set of ideas is a propaganda strategy against an honest exercise to define and understand what the gender perspective is.
“We all have ideology, we can even speak of a macho ideology or a fundamentalist or religious ideology,” he said.
Since the 1990s, he said, when international speeches began to advance, this response was built simultaneously from the conservative sector.
The vision of life that promotes the gender perspective should not and cannot be limited to classrooms , but must be the axis of the development of public policies and narratives of why it is governed and for whom.
The implementation of a curriculum with a gender perspective is a claim that various groups have raised as one of the fundamental steps in the face of the rise in femicides that the country has presented at different times. However, the claim is not exclusive to education.
“ The analysis of the gender perspective is transversal, it is not an issue in itself. It is a way through which you have to look at health, education, the right to work, care in government agencies. For this reason, the issue cannot be treated as an isolated thing, ”said Osvaldo Burgos , spokesman for the Broad Committee for the Search for Equity (CABE).
In July 1997, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) defined gender mainstreaming as “the process of assessing the implications for men and women of any action that is planned, whether it concerns of legislation, policies or programs, in all areas and at all levels ”.
Burgos acknowledged that education with a gender perspective does not solve all the country's problems, but it is an “important starting point.” He argued that the economic disparity, the lack of access to basic services and the low rate of clarification of serious crimes must also be addressed.
In fact, the annual report of the UN's Women's division, called “The World for Women and Girls,” asks governments and service providers, including the private sector, to fully incorporate a gender perspective to responses to the crisis.
To translate the idea of mainstreaming into reality, a clear political will and the allocation of adequate resources is important, warns the International Labor Organization.
Myths and realities of the gender perspective
Myth: The claim for an education with a gender perspective is an agenda of feminist groups that defend the rights of the LGBTTTIQ + community.
Reality: The gender perspective is an agenda, yes, but for everyone who believes that all human beings have the same rights. We embrace the gender perspective agenda because we believe in it. (Feminists) have been the social group that has moved it, but fortunately more and more people are joining. (Answer: Verónica Rivera Torres)
Myth: The gender perspective favors only women.
Reality: The gender perspective is really an analysis that considers the human rights of each and everyone and not merely of women. The UN State of Women 2019-2020 report establishes that a first step to advance the planet's Sustainable Development Goals is to guarantee equitable family spaces for women. (Answer: Ms. Amárilis Pagán)