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Voice of the Women's Liberation Movement-
(June, 1968) 8 pages total

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(cont. from p.2)
do except produce children.
Now there is so much work to be done in Cuba--new lands to be cultivated, factories to be built, classes to be taught--that anyone who can work is a treasure. Women are valuable people because the whole country needs them, not just because men like them.
The Women's Federation does not crusade to establish the emancipation or equality of women. Instead, its main function is to implement government work policies which operate on the assumption of equality. The Federation organizes vcluntary work brigades, helps unemployed women find jobs, and trains students going into the fields. It also runs excellent day nurseries for pre-school children during work hours.
A strict division of labor is maintained in Cuba under the direction of the men- men drive tractors and cut the cane, while women roll cigars, run the nurseries, and plant coffee. (It is true that cane cutting is too difficult for most women, but driving a tractor is not. Why should there be no men in the nurseries?)
These exclusionary practices may be a source of conflict in the future, but they are not now. Women are by no means restricted to low status jobs. Before, professional women were mainly teachers. Now, a third of the new teacher trainees are men, while nearly half of the medical students are women. In the sugar mill we visited, one of the ten or fifteen foremen was a woman. In the Faculty of Technology at the University a third of the students are women. There were virtually none before. Women are also active in local block clubs, the militia, and the Party; many are judges in the Popular Courts.
Although the work relationships between men and women have changed very rapidly, sexual relationships are changing more slowly. Women have been trained for a long time to judge their worth by how well they can please men as sexual objects. (Cuban fashion magazines are very much like our own) In Havana, around hotels particularly, there was no shortage of women wearing high heels, tight skirts, no girdles and shiny cloth, in the standard Latin ''sexy" style. Many women have not yet discovered that they are already valuable; there is no need to wear those



uncomfortable shoes any more. And the Cuban men I watched responded to the traditional flirtations in traditional ways, maintaining the women's dependence on approval from men.
Marriage is not being eliminated. Cuban young people marry at a fairly early age —17 to 19 — and are producing children prolifically. Contraceptives are available but aren't as popular as they are here, for a couple of reasons. First, the island is under-populated, a result of a century of uprisings and police retaliation. Second., mothers needn't choose between having children and continuing their public lives because of the nursery system run by the Women's Federation.
However, marriages are dissolved more often and more easily than before. The revolution often separates couples for several months or years while one partner is sent to a distant part of the island to do voluntary work, teach, or go to school. It is becoming more common, according to one of our guides for each to find a new partner until the old arrangement can be resumed. Sometimes the new partner is preferred and the previous marriage is dissolved.
Changes in women's roles in Cuba--in the value of being female--are closely related to changes in the Cubans' concept of the ideal person. I suspect that as the ideal of the New Socialist Man (consistent, hardworking and cooperative) comes to replace the ideal of the Guerillero (adventuresome,
(cont. on p. 8)

There have been numerous suggestions, ever since last summer, that a national radical women's meeting be called The Chicago women's coordinating committee is interested in knowing what women all over the country think. Do you want a conference? If so, when, where, and how would you like to see it organzed? We will try to let you know more in the next newsletter.


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