Grass roots Cuban Federation of Women
fosters full equality among women and men

The Federation of Cuban Women (Federacion de Mujeres Cubanas - FMC), founded on 23 August 1960, has a membership of 4.1 million members consisting of 86.7% of all women ages 14 and older. Its fundamental objective is achieving full equality of possibilities and opportunities among women and men. It is a voluntary non-governmental organization and self-financing through membership dues. It has an advisory role in all Cuban affairs relating to women guaranteed by the constitution.

Its structure is based on more than 76,000 grass roots chapters linked upwards to the national executive through municipal and provincial organizations. Since its foundation to present, Vilma Espín has served as its president.

Today Cuban women are involved in all the aspects of national life, and their presence in education and health care has been decisive. Nor can one speak of the island's scientific and technical development without mentioning the significant role that women have played and that that FMC has helped advance through promotion of female equality and leadership.

The FMC works for the full integration of women into the economic, political, social and cultural life of the country and has maintained a systematic work for the elimination of the obstacles and stereotypes that still exist in the family and society.

The FMC is very active internationally and maintains work relations and cooperation with numerous women's organizations all over the planet. It is a member of the International Democratic Federation of Women, and holds Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The FMC denounces the unjust inequalities that millions of women all over the world suffer – their most elemental rights, as victims of economic violence, labor and social discrimination, and marginalization. The FMC rejects neo-liberal globalization policies that result in extreme hardships for females, the some 70% of the more than four billion poor people of the world. They identify this as the "feminization of poverty." Similarly the FMC is a strong advocate of global peace, disarmament and development with dignity.

Objectives of the FMC

Defend the Cuban Revolution that has made and makes women's achievements possible.

Fight for the full incorporation, participation and promotion of women in the economic, political, social and cultural life in Cuba based on equal rights and opportunities.

Strengthen the ideological and political work and form ethical and moral values in children, the family, in schools and society.

Intensify the development of non-sexist education at all levels of society.

Spread the gender perspective in all spheres of Cuban society as a means for analysis and planning economic and social projects.

Carry out a strategy for the promotion of women to management levels, including decision-making positions.

Direct the National Commission for preventing violence to women.

Encourage the participation of women in economic programs.

Carry out social research with the aim of diagnosing and finding solutions for the problems of women, in liaison with the appropriate institutions.

Establish and maintain links with women's organizations and institutions all over the world.

Participate actively in the international organizations and bodies devoted to women's issues.

Main activities of the FMC

Develop wide ranging community work programs aimed at promoting education, health, non-sexist education of boys and girls, as well as the awareness of women's rights, their place in society and within the family. The FMC has 78,142 social workers and 77,317 health promoters who work voluntarily in the communities.

Carry out a permanent educational activity through 176 Orientation Houses for Women and Families that have more than 10,700 female and male professional specialists.

Promote and involvement in joint plans with the Ministries of Labor and Social Security, Education, Agriculture, Sugar Production, Public Health, Science, Technology and Environment, the Cuban Institute of Radio and TV, the national labor federation (CTC).

In the more than 175 Orientation Houses for Women and Families operated by the FMC, thousands of women are provided free education through training activities, and actions aimed at the empowerment of women increased numbers in all the spheres of the Cuban social project.

FMC Women's Training Centers provide leadership skills development of Cuban girls and young women from other countries. The FMC's magazine is "Mujer" and it operates the Women's Publishing House at the national level.

Facts about Cuban women

Cuba is one of the few countries whose constitution recognizes women's inalienable right to participate as equals in economic, political, cultural and social life. The FMC sees to it that these rights are respected and promotes the advancement of women within Cuban society.

Cuba was the first country to sign and the second to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

In education: 62% of university students, 49.5% graduating from university, 62% of graduate students (education is free in Cuba).

In employment: Cuba women represent 22% of laborers, 66.4% of technicians, 87% of administration staff, 53.9% of service employees, and 33.5% of managers.

In law and government: Cuba women represent 36% of members of parliament, 16.1% of the state council, 18% of ministerial posts, 22.7% of vice-ministerial posts, 61% of attorneys, 49% of local judges, 47% of judges in the supreme court.

In health: Life expectancy 78 years, maternal mortality 33.9% per 100,000 of live births, infant mortality is 6.2% per 1000 of live births (the lowest in Latin America and lower than the U.S.). They enjoy free abortion on demand, childcare is available to all at low cost from three months age to school age, optional maternity leave of one year on full pay, and specific mental health programs. Access to health services, including sexual and reproductive health is universal and free.