Sofía Montenegro What should men be like, and what should women be like? An audacious, pioneering and much needed study offers us some troubling answers and inescapable challenges.What does a retired professor do when she finds rich academic talent among indigenous Nicaraguan high school students and learns that many of these young women want to become doctors but have no possibility of paying for medical school? The country's Caribbean coastal area is among the poorest in Central America -- second only to Haiti. Only 4 percent of women in eastern Nicaragua can even afford to go to a university, Mc Kean told in a series of email exchanges.
Two different social formations have coexisted in Nicaragua for a long time: one on the Pacific side, which acquired living patterns derived mainly from Spanish domination; and another on the Caribbean side, influenced but never fully dominated by British colonization.
Nicaragua was slower than other countries to recognize women’s equal rights, a postulate of modernity.
The socially constructed notion of what men and women should be like includes permissible expectations, values, behaviors and forms of relating, all of which is the stuff of gender models.
The crises, contradictions and transformations in gender models have been very complex in Nicaragua’s originally indigenous and now multiethnic society.
We will look more closely at the now prevalent "mestizo" model that arose with that colonization on the Pacific as a way to understand the roots of such still-dominant views on these issues.
The dominant system in Nicaraguan society has readapted gender models in accord with structural changes, and the structural crisis stemming from the 1979 revolution is, in fact, what gave rise to the most important changes that have taken place in the model of gender domination.
The Liberal government that came to power in 1997, however, anachronistically proposed to restore the cultural norms of the Spanish colonial period under Catholic Church doctrine, particularly regarding family, sexuality and reproduction.
Agnes, headquartered in Fond du Lac, Wis., where Mc Kean now lives in active retirement.
She made several trips to Nicaragua in 2009, studying three universities before selecting the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast -- better known as URACCAN -- to be a partner for the foundation.
Such need can concentrate one's twilight years, she's discovered.
When she founded Adelante Mujer in 2009, her goal was to win approval of the venture by the Sisters of St.