Studying abroad is all about being immersed in a new culture, and in order to do that, you have to learn a lot about the culture you are in! Being in a homestay is a great way to do that; to be exposed to ways of life and also hear the perspectives of Chileans of what it means to be Chilean. Here in Chile the Women's Rights movement is very strong. There are numerous levels of passion amongst Chileans concerning the fight for equal rights, but overall there is a lot of power within the feminist movement. We are living where history is being made!
CIEE put together a discussion panel/lecture for all the students in the program focused on the rights of women in Chile. The lecture was giving by two outstanding women, Christine Weidenslaufer and Gloria Cáceres. Chrstine is lawyer and activist for the National Congressional Library as well as a participant in the Equality of Gender Commission. Gloria has her doctorate in Human Rights from the University of Deusto, Spain and is the head of Social Work Studies at PUCV. She also published the book, "Género, y Universidad, una Pregunta Abierta". The two were able to share about their experiences and what they advocate for as well as the current situation concerning women in Chile; especially concerning the participation of women in congress and laws concerning domestic violence. It is so crucial to learn about the climate of these intense topics from those who are knowledegable and also from those who live the reality! Not only this, but the floor opened for questions at the end, which was really important in order to have a safe space to be open with questions and comments. Both the women were passionate about what they do, and that showed in this panel!
One of the coolest parts, in my opinion, was the event was open to all of our host families! This allowed me to go home and discuss further with my host mother about her thoughts and questions, as well as her views. It opened the door to so many conversations (Not to mention there were delicious treats after! )Overall, I enjoyed this lecture because it helped me understand more what it means to be a woman in Chile, a took a look deeper into the culture today.