Feminist Movement - Haiti Observer Blog

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Haiti's Feminist Movement Needs New Leaders

When Haiti's 2010 earthquake struck, the country lost more than hundreds of lives of its population; it lost its feminist leaders. Courageous, intelligent women such as Myriam Merlet of Eufofanm, Magalie Maralin of Kay Fanm, and Anne Marie Coriolan of SOFA. With their deaths, women's voices have become muted.

Modern Haitian feminist organizations were formed after Jean-Claude Duvalier was ousted in 1986. Their aim was to advocate for all women, regardless of economic status. Feminists were very proactive during periods of military rule or foreign occupation on the island, exposing atrocities being committed on women's bodies. Some of the crimes included rape, amputation, and other forms of brutality and humiliation. These acts were done to empower political factions and foreign interests seeking to rule or occupy Haiti.

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Ertha Pascal-Trouillot

Despite the changing gender roles and the growing feminist movement, female presidents or heads of state are quite rare in Haiti. One of these very few powerful women in history is former Haitian president Ertha Pascal-Trouillot. Politics has always been said to be meant for males as power and control are often associated with being a man. But as time went by, women began competing with this notion and have been made leaders and politicians along with men.

Pascal-Trouillot was born in a suburb of Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince in 1943. Her father was an iron worker while her mother was a seamstress and was the ninth child of their ten children. The future president acquired a law degree from the prestigious École de Droit des Gonaives and was a judge for federal courts for more than ten years. She then became the first woman justice of the country's Supreme Court. And in 1990, Pascal-Trouillot was proclaimed as Haiti's temporary president after the successful revolt against former president Prosper Avril which put him out of office.

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