Machismo culture in Honduras

Gender stereotypes will always exist, I believe at least. You will always see a baby girl wearing more pink and a boy in blue. Some parents will determinedly dress all their babies in yellow so as not to encourage stereotypes, but you will always have parents who want to dress their baby in the colours more traditionally associated with their sex. And there are jobs that I just can’t see gender roles completely balancing – I don’t think women will ever overtake men’s numbers of mechanic, or men as manicurists. But I think this is fine, as long as no one is losing out. Of course, women should get equal pay and little boys shouldn’t be told not to cry because they have to be ‘a man’. But, unfortunately, a lot of these traditions will carry on for a long time. However, the strength of gender stereotypes are noticeably different in different countries and cultures. 

For example, Honduras. By no means is my own country, the UK, fantastic at gender equality – women don’t receive equal pay and it isn’t uncommon for a man to slow down his car and shout something vulgar – but I have been shocked many times in Honduras at it’s machismo culture. Machismo is basically the culture of men being strong and unemotional, while the women are vulnerable and needy. The culture is quite drastically in favour of the man in the house – wives run after their husbands making them meals and cleaning up after them, daughters do the same for their fathers and brothers. You will never see a man in a house with other women helping with chores or preparing a meal – at least from what I’ve seen anyway. A women is expected to see that her husband/father/brother is happy and fed before she can look after herself. And often women are not even thankful for it – because it is just expected. A close friend of mine, who happens to be a married women with children recently told me that if I marry a Honduran guy I need to do evertyhing for him. I don’t think so…

One of my best girlfriends here told me recently that she really doesn’t want to marry a Honduran guy because of this. Isn’t that sad?! Like the rest of world, Honduras is slowly recognising gender equality, but it is still so focused on it’s machismo roots that women feel the need to marry outside of their own culture. In one way I think this is a good thing as my friend won’t feel the pressure to raise her own children to recognise men as more important than women; but wouldn’t it be better for Honduras to make more of an effort to recognise that men aren’t all that…

Another huge part of the issue is the crime women face in Honduras – the rate of femicides during the past couple of years has increased unbelievably. Just typing ‘femicides honduras’ into Google will give you a lot of depressing results – for example one website that tells us there were 600 murders of women in just one year (2012) and there have been 2851 femicides between 2005 and 2012 (https://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/11/26/honduras-over-600-femicides-in-2012/). I regularly see stories about mothers being murdered in front of their children in the newspapers here. There is a Guardian article that explains some of the reaons for the increased violence – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/may/29/honduras-blind-eye-femicides

There are so many problems being caused by the presence of maras in Honduras but little seems to be happening to change this at the moment. I sincerely hope that 2014 brings some hope to Honduras and it’s women. 

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