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Gender and Democracy in Cuba$
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Ilja A. Luciak

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813030630

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813030630.001.0001

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Party and State

Party and State

Gender Equality in Political Decision-making

(p.63) 4 Party and State
Gender and Democracy in Cuba

Iija A. Luciak

University Press of Florida

In 1966, the Cuban president Fidel Castro publicly recognized the importance of the involvement of women and their participation into the new Cuban social project. Although women were actively participating as catalysts on the issue of education and health, their political participation was rather slow-moving. This slow progress on the political participation of women as candidates and office holders in the political arena was recognized by the Cuban president wherein he expressed his conviction of forwarding an equal footing for man and women in the field of politics. This chapter assesses the developments Cuba has made in the last thirty years over the issue of gender equality in politics and decision-making and explores the gender composition of the Cuban governmental structure. The chapter also discusses the efforts made to strengthen women's participation in politics as well as comparing the inclusion of women into the key state and party decision-making bodies. This chapter is guided by three arguments: Cuba's legislative structure includes more women at the national level than in the local level, a striking contrast to the experience in the US and other European countries; the implementation of positive discrimination and gender quotas in the political structure of Cuba happens despite denials of the existence of positive discrimination; the existence of discriminatory barriers in the higher rungs of the political structure prevent Cuban women from holding significant roles in the field of decision-making.

Keywords:   women, political participation, political arena, politics, gender equality, decision-making, gender composition, Cuban governmental structure, positive discrimination

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