Gender norms was always prominent in Puerto Rican society. Men had to live up to the “Machista” mentality and women often being the caregivers to the family. However, within these gender norms were gender inequality. It was found that women take up about 52 percent of the island’s population. The poverty level in 2018 in Puerto Rico was also found to be a staggering 37% majority being women. The inequality between women and men in Puerto Rico were always evident, but sadly it got worse after Maria hit Puerto Rico. Women were more vulnerable to sexual assault and domestic violence. Not to mention, lack of resources to provide for Women’s reproductive health concerns. Their responsibilities of looking after their families increased as These families’ homes were decimated.
What’s remarkable is that through all this adversity, women rose and formed a sisterhood that led to the re-invention of Puerto Rico. By re-invention I mean from rebuilding homes that were destroyed after the storm, to reforming the government.
After the storm hit Puerto Rico homes were completely destroyed, leaving families with no idea of when these homes would be rebuilt. Two women teamed up, Maria Gabriela Velasco and Carla Gautier forming housing startup Hivecube. They created affordable housing for Puerto Ricans that could be built quicker than most homes.
These brilliant women used shipping containers as a quick solution to help an awful problem. This is just one brief example of how women helped rebuild the island. The article goes on to explain how women banded together to help provide local and healthy food for the island. Women consistently came together taking care of Puerto Rico, showing their strength, intelligence and perseverance.
These programs mentioned in the article, such as HiveCube, still exist and continue to strengthen Puerto Rico.
Not only did women literally rebuild houses and fight against hunger in Puerto Rico, but the women of Puerto Rico became an essential part in forcing the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló.
On July 10, 2019 chats between Ricardo Rosello and his administration were leaked. These chats made homophobic slurs, sexist remarks, and mocked the lives taken by Hurricane Maria. These chats ultimately lead to his resignation. These chats were leaked by Journalist Sandra Rodríguez. A few days later journalist Carla Minet released more pages of these chats. Thereafter, more women journalist and photographers joined together to create a social movement Puerto Rico has never seen before.
After the revealing of these chats feminist movements arose everywhere in Puerto Rico, rallying non-violent protest throughout the streets of the island.
A Puerto Rican blogger, Aliana Margarita Bigio-Alcoba wrote, “Women took the lead, mostly because we are the ones who had to historically carry the burden of having a corrupt government: moms dealing with a bad economy, women suffering domestic violence,”
One of the best parts to these feminist movements is that there are no leaders taking charge or main runners of these protest. It is women coming together, fighting for a better Puerto Rico. Their movements and protest became successful on August 2nd when Rosello announced his resignation.
From rebuilding homes, feeding Puerto Ricans, to fighting for a better a government, the women of Puerto Rico proved their strength. Feminist groups are still emerging and rising. Their plan: to fight for a better future for Puerto Rico, demanding their recognition.