Today, Cubans celebrate the 59th anniversary of the founding of the Federation of Cuban Women, (Federacion de Mujeres Cubanas) (FMC) that brings them together and protects women’s rights. The FMC was founded on August 23, 1960.
The FMC is a merger of all institutions that represent women in Cuba. Its mission is to protect equality for women. Four million women are registered members of the organization.
Vilma Espín Guillois, (April 7, 1930 – June 18, 2007), was the first elected president of the organization. She was born in Santiago de Cuba and obtained her education at the Universidad de Oriente. She is known as a Cuban hero and was the wife of Raul Castro.
Espín was a visionary, a revolutionary, a feminist and a chemical engineer by profession.
The FMC was established in 1960 when Fidel Castro highlighted the role of women — to encourage all women to become involved in their society, to study and work and become independent.
The FMC actively created schools for women, organized child care centers, instigated the literacy campaign of 1961, led a campaign to encourage men to take part in household chores and childcare, established maternity laws, highlighted the rights and duties of the family, campaigned against gender violence, founded shelters of support (Casas de Orientacion), established equal pay for women, and is involved in the fight against addictions.
The Federation has played a very important role in approving non-discriminatory legislation for the implementation of government policies and in programs to help achieve equality between the sexes.
It plays an important role in international organizations such as the United Nations and other agencies to promote the status of women.
Cuba is now a leader in Central and North America in promoting equality for women, as can witnessed by its current regulations.
Today, the FMC is led by the Secretary-General of the Federation, Teresa Amarelle.