Is Costa Rica Progressive?

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Bathroom Stall Words of Wisdom

In my opinion yes. One of the assumptions I had of Costa Rica, well of most Latin American Countries, is that they were far from progressive especially in regards to feminist ideology. Over the past 2 weeks that I have been here I have seen various ways in which Costa Rica supports and fights for womxn. Anyone that has studied Latino cultures is aware of the role Machismo and Marianismo plays within cultures. Within my own culture as a Mexican womxn I have seen machismo rule our everyday lives by creating gender norms and in some ways normalizing violence and the unhappiness of womxn. Since I have been in Costa Rica I have felt empowered and supported in ways that I was not expecting.

Something that surprised me the most is that the first Vice President of Costa Rica, Epsy Campbell Barr, is a Black Womxn. Of course like any other city it is not safe as for womxn to walk the streets alone late at night as it is for men. However, I have walked the streets in Heredia and San Jose with friends and have not been catcalled as I would in Chicago or even Cuba for that matter. La Universidad Nacional alone is more liberal than my own university. The bathroom stalls are plastered with words of encouragement for womxn and the queer community. The Pride Flag is raised next to the Costa Rican Flag and the University Flag showing support for all the diverse students on campus.

Costa Ricans are also very aware of issues that effect the environment. They are very cautious about the amount of paper and water they use. They fight against deforestation and focus on appreciating all of what the lang provides. In 1948 they abolished the military and invested military funds towards public health, education, etc.

From what I have seen so far Costa Rica is progressive, but it is not perfect. Within the progressive ideologies there are still problems that are going unmentioned such as people body shaming, the lack of womxn in STEM classrooms, and socio-economic issues.

Questions still remaining:

  • Does colorism exist in CA? If so, in what ways?
  • Do gender roles still exist in the home?