This article was written by the Proyecto Florecer team and recently shared in Josie Parkhouse’s blog
1. Colombian women are more active politically
The female candidates who won elections in Colombia are ready to reshape the country! In November 2019, Claudia Lopez became the first female, openly gay Mayor of Bogota winning the election with over 35% of the vote. Lopez’s election proves to be an important step forward for women and LGBTQ rights in Colombia. In her acceptance speech, Lopez passionately exclaimed, “This is the day of the woman, we knew that only by uniting could we win. We did that. We united, we won and we made history!”
In Medellín, the second largest city in Colombia, a group of men and women are working together in Estamos Listas, a political campaign and the first gender-centered political movement. Additionally, the political participation of women in Colombia has also increased dramatically in the last 20 years, from 6% to 11% in popular elections and from 7% to 21%.
As more and more women assume leadership positions and gain political control across the country, girls and future generations of leaders can learn from the examples of politically active women and say: “If she can do it, I can do it too!”
2. Education is on the rise: women in the workplace
University graduation rates of young women have overtaken those of men. Additionally, workplace participation increased from 46% to 54% between 2008 and 2012. However, in the last few years (2014-2017) workplace participation has steadied out at around 54%, leaving Colombia 2 percentage points behind Latin America’s average for female participation in the workforce. As more investment is made in women’s projects and female political representation increases, we are hopeful that this will have a positive influence on workplace participation in Colombia.
3. Female athletes becoming role models for their community
In addition to excelling politically, female athletes are also making Colombians proud. In 2018, Colombia’s Catherine Ibarguen was named the world’s best female athlete. Ibarguen is the current holder of the gold Olympic medal holder for the triple jump after her victory in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Additionally, Mariana Pajon is one of Colombia’s most celebrated female athletes and the only double Olympic champion in women’s BMX. At the age of 25 she became a world reference to the sport of BMX abd was the only South American Woman to have one two gold medals in individual sports in the history of the Olympic Games. Pajon continues to train and started a foundation Pedaling for a Dream which focuses on bringing opportunities to children and young people of Colombia as an alternative life and a way to fulfill their dreams and build a stronger country. Pajon inspires women to pursue their passion and dedication to sports. “Have a dream, enjoy it. Fight. Really, believe that it is possible to get there and that you can be bigger than you imagine,” proclaims Mariana, the “queen of BMX.”
With the Olympics approaching in the summer of 2020, we are excited to see what victories and successes are in store!
4. Taking charge in science
In Colombia, recognition has been given to 10 women who stand out as artists, writers, scientists and activists. Brigitte Baptiste, a transgender woman, was director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute of Biological Resources for ten years and now occupies an important position within the Colombian education system, contributing tirelessly to the ecofeminist movements.
Colombia has also recognized Paula Tello who was the first Colombian scientist chosen to be part of Homeward Bound in Antarctica. She is now the leader of the project Antartida Paravalientes, which opens the path for thousands of Colombian women in Science.
Adriana Ocampo, a planetary geologist has also inspired Colombian women, behind the team of NASA’s The New Frontier’s Program. In 2002, Ocampo was named one of the 50 Most Important Women in Science by Discover Magazine.
5. Women find their independence with their voice and their bodies
In addition to women’s engagement politically, professionally and in the sectors of science and sports, there has also been increased initiatives to promote awareness and knowledge of gender violence. We hope that through this awareness, the country is able to reduce events of violence towards women
As a movement, Proyecto Florecer we give young women the opportunity to create a better future for themselves and their community as long as they break the cycle of underemployment, gender violence, toxic relationships, early pregnancy, and rigid gender roles. We hope to inspire and continue to support the future generation of women that represent the strength and change makers of tomorrow.