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Lima Festival Promotes the Role of Women

Nosotras estamos en la calle, or We Are on the Streets, is the name of an arts and politics festival that took place earlier this month for the fifth year in a row to promote female participation in the public sphere. Organized by different social collectives interested in highlighting women’s participation in street art, music, theater, and politics, Nosotras estamos en la calle was about women “occupying” spaces that have always been dominated by men.

Some men and women believe that International Women´s Day should not exist because it promotes more gender division. However, according to Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, 97 Peruvian women were killed in 2012 as a consequence of femicide. In a country where gender violence is seen as normal, being a woman is dangerous. Fighting for women’s rights and gender equality is still a necessity.

The arts have always been a good way to discuss such topics. Women are hardly ever recognized as street artists or muralists, as drummers and bandleaders, as hip-hop singers or improvisers, or as strong political figures. Nosotras estamos en la calle brought together female artists to share their knowledge with others.

The festival lasted seven days and included poetry recitals, hip-hop singers, batucadas, street art, workshops in different parts of the city, an art gallery with several performances, and an information fair. On the last day, around 100 people—some of them members of organizations such as Manuela Ramos—walked from central Lima to Washington Square to where 30 people were playing drums, led by the all-female percussion group Pario Paula.

Artistic expression did not stop men from harassing women on the streets or from physically or psychologically abusing women. Nonetheless, in that public space, art gave women a sensation of empowerment and support.

In other parts of Lima, different activities also took place to commemorate International Women’s Day. The Municipality of Lima, which also supported the festival, organized an event in Lima’s Plaza Mayor (Main Square), where several female singers sang for the audience for free.

Hopefully, Nosotras estamos en la calle reaches more and more people each year and motivates more women to go out on the streets and express themselves through art or political speech. The new cultural movement in Lima can contribute to strengthening gender equality in a unique way.

*Andrea Román Alfaro works as a sociologist for the social studies team of JGP Consultoria in Lima, Peru. She studied Government-Sociology at Skidmore College, New York and is interested in social development and public policy.

Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Peru, Women's rights

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