Guatemala Blooms

Recently, ABPD’s Executive Director Norma Baján and Empowerment Coordinator Virginia Cum met with Guatemalan Vice President-elect Karin Herrera and famed indigenous rights activist Rigoberta Menchú during a meeting held in honor of International Indigenous Women’s Day. Below are some of Norma’s comments:

“We represent 8% of the world’s population. We must be proud of our roots”, says Rigoberta Menchú Tum, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 and president of the Indigenous Women’s Platform in Guatemala.

The indigenous Women’s Platform is an organization created by women leaders from Maya, Xinka and Garifuna communities from across the country. In recognition of International Indigenous Women’s day, the Indigenous Women’s Platform hosted an event titled “Indigenous Women: Stitching Our Thoughts On A Blooming Democracy”, attended by the Guatemalan Vice President-elect for the 2024-2028 term. The topics of discussion during the event centered around the challenges and commitments that we have as women leaders, indigenous peoples, and representatives of civil society to strengthen networks and dialogue for a more just and inclusive society.

It should be mentioned that, in Guatemala, 51% of the population are women and almost 50% of women are indigenous. According to María-Noel Vaeza, Regional Director of UN Women for Latin America and the Caribbean, “the almost four million indigenous women in Guatemala are marginalized in the economy, excluded from educational opportunities, and underrepresented in all instances of political power”. These facts are alarming.

When asked about the role of the Vice President-elect during the event, ABPD Empowerment Coordinator Virginia Cum stated:

The Vice President-elect’s participation is so that she can take indigenous women’s proposals and act in favor of women. For me, this is a space where indigenous women can present proposals related to health, education, and economic development so that women can access development opportunities.

This year is one of significant change for ABPD and for Guatemala. We are both grateful and proud to have Norma at the helm of our partner organization ABPD and strong, experienced women leaders like Virginia among our staff. Their leadership and resolve have paved the way for many of our successes and will continue to guide us into the future. Matyox!