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(c)Barcelona 2004/J. Roca de Viñals
(c)Barcelona 2004/J. Roca de Viñals
 

29 / 07 / 2004
Mary Nash, Modern History Professor at Barcelona University: “Women are still far from where the big decisions are made”

The Forum’s “141 Questions” (80): “If the 20th century was women’s, whose will the 21st century be?” Mary Nash, one of the leading experts in the history of women’s migratory movements, replied that “the 21st century should be for everyone, men and women” and the challenge is “for men to commit to and engage in the fight to achieve gender equality.” Nash warned that, “it is easier to fight against clear inequality than against fuzzy inequality.” Nash argued in favor of positive discrimination because “provide support for a group that suffers from inequality.”

More information about 141 questions - If the 20th century was the Women's Century, whose century will the 21st be?

Mary Nash, Modern History professor and director of the research group Multiculturalism and Gender at Barcelona University, stated at the Haima Stage that, “public administrations have a responsibility to apply the discourse they use” in reference to equality between men and women. She added that a series of recent studies show that women are underrepresented in European institutions, the United Nations and Unesco. According to Nash, it is obvious that, “women are still a long way from where the big decisions are made.” She argued that, “women deserve greater recognition as mediators in peace processes.” At any rate, Mary Nash holds that, “the 21st century should be for all, men and women” and that the challenge is “for men to commit to and engage in the fight to achieve greater equality between men and women.”

Nash explained that the situation has changed greatly over the last century: “At the dawn of the 20th century, women were protected by men; they had no rights, and they were not allowed into cultural circles. In Catalonia, 75% of women were illiterate.” She admitted that women now have many more options available to them for the future, but despite this, “discriminatory practices” continue to prevail. Nash went on to warn that, “it is easier to fight against clear inequality than against fuzzy inequality.” She stated that female students make up 50% of university alumni, but that this reality is not reflected in the labor market “because there are still obstacles”. While on the topic of employment, Nash stated that another challenge is for women not to have to renounce anything when they decide to join the workforce: “Although compatible timetables and work distribution might be appealing, it is necessary to take into account that, for women who renounce being available at all hours are faced with the risk of being discarded for promotion within their company.”

Mary Nash insisted on the need for men to help with housework and that women need to play a larger role in the media: "How many women participate in debates? There is a deficit of representation. We need more presence on these programs to avoid the traditional role of women on reality shows."

She agrees with affirmative action because "it means helping a collective that is not in an equal situation" and also spoke of the "feminization of poverty."

Winner of the Creu de Sant Jordi from the Catalan autonomous government in 1995, a regular contributor to scientific magazines and founder of the Spanish Association of Research on Women's History, Mary Nash has written several books on the women's movement. In her latest book, Women in the World, History, Challenges and Movements, she affirms that, "the historic journey of women from all over the world clearly shows their capacity to question their subalternity "

Mary Nash's participation at "Living and Living Together. Women's World Forum" July 29-31. The idea of the Dialogue is that: a fair world and democratic development are not possible without the participation of half the world's population.