Women at the heart of change

Linked with Nora Castańeda – Venezuela.

Published on Poptel, by Zuleiva Vivas, not dated.

In the last few years, deep and important social changes have taken place in Venezuela …

… One example is Article 88 of our constitution, which establishes that the work a woman does in the home actually constitutes an economic activity that creates added value and generates wealth and social well-being. In this respect, a programme has been launched whereby housewives will receive a minimum salary, which will benefit 200,000 women. This programme will be implemented over the next two years.

Many other laws and institutions have been introduced in support of women, including equal opportunities legislation, an Attorney General for Women and a National Institute for Women.

The National Institute of Woman promotes discussion on issues such as the decriminalisation of abortion, women becoming 50 per cent of those participating in elections, the role of indigenous women, and tackling domestic violence — which is regarded as a state problem.

One significant development has been the setting up of the Women’s Development Bank, Banmujer. This system provides micro-credits to women, to finance programmes and training, for example in establishing small businesses and cooperatives.


In its four years in operation, Banmujer has supported 87,300 women, and authorised 56,000 loans generating over 217,000 jobs …

… In all of these, there has been a significant participation of women living in poverty and of indigenous women and women of African descent. They have benefited both as users of the initiatives and from being involved in the promotion of these campaigns.

In February 2006, President Chavez, when inaugurating the new ministers into government, pointed out that the presence of women amongst those being sworn in was very important, as one of the side effects of capitalism was the exclusion of women.

He repeated his conviction that the day that we achieve equality of the sexes in both participation and at the level of decision-making will be a very great day for the world … (full text).

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