By:Kristin De La Oliva Issue: Biennial of the Americas 2010 Section:The Americas Roundtables
Changing Roles for Women in El Salvador
Mayu Brizuela served as the first woman Minister of Foreign Affairs in El Salvador from 1999-2004 and has had high level positions in banking and industry. Brizuela spoke about women in El Salvador, even giving her own example of how she was named valedictorian of her high school, but had to give the title to a male classmate because she was a woman. She said, “Major change is presently occurring in El Salvador by incorporating women in education decisions. We have moved from quantity to quality. Now, all El Salvadorian children have the opportunity to go to school.”
According to Brizuela, Salvadoran progress and development have been indirectly led by women. Because of the country’s civil war in the 1980s, many people, especially men, left the country, making women’s roles even more important. Women began to fight for their rights to work outside the home, get loans for businesses, have medical care, and economic support for their children. Although Brizuela believes El Salvador’s greatest achievement was achieving peace, she trusts that women will continue to be vital in improving education and politics, while proving themselves role models in the private sector.