ASUNCION – Women in rural Paraguay participated Wednesday in International Women’s Day demonstrations, demanding equal land ownership rights and complaining that institutions continue favoring men in granting land titles and providing farm loans.
Women from different provinces demonstrated outside the Agriculture Ministry and the Rural Development and Land Institute in Asuncion.
“Today, we left our homes, our families and our patches of land,” Concepcion Meza, a farmer from San Pedro province, told EFE. “Today, we strike and we come to Asuncion to lift our voices against discrimination and violence.”
Government agencies “do not recognize women as food producers” and grant land titles only to men, Meza said.
The situation is particularly difficult for single mothers and women who have separated from their husbands, since the title to the land remains in men’s hands, Meza said.
When a single woman or a women’s cooperative applies for farming loans, financial and other institutions always ask about their husbands or request a man’s ID documents.
“They do not recognize us as producers or as individuals able to carry out the comprehensive agrarian reform we propose. They think that only men have a right to request a piece of land,” Meza said.
Rural and Indian women do not have proper access to health care and experience “obstetric discrimination and violence” when they go to hospitals for childbirth, Meza said.