Four months ago, in the midst of an intense electoral campaigning, President-elect Mauricio Funes announced his ambitious plan to provide health and social services to women throughout El Salvador. The project, Ciudad Mujer, would offer childcare, health programs, prenatal support through the program Madre Feliz, social support for domestic violence, legal advice, economic assistance through microcredit and workshops, and religious activities.
The FMLN presented this project as an initial step towards addressing gender equality and familial well-being. Although these issues are mentioned in Funes’s platform, specific plans to overcome them are not included. If fully implemented, Ciudad Mujer would be an important step in the struggle to find gender equality and family support for Salvadoran women. The project calls for fourteen centers, one for each departmental captial in the country. Initially the government will contribute about 1.5 million dollars, an ambitious investment considering the current economic climate.
According to news sources, Vanda Pignato, Funes’s wife, will coordinate many aspects of Ciudad Mujer. In early March, Pignato attended the ground-breaking of the Ciudad Mujer to be constructed in Usulután. Other departments such as La Unión, Santa Ana, and La Libertad have already set aside plots of land for Ciudad Mujer as well.
Women in El Salvador have high expectations for the project. When Funes announced his plans for Ciudad Mujer in February, around two thousand women of diverse economic sectors and professions attended. About a thousand people attended the ground-breaking in Usulután. As one of the first steps to act on campaign promises, the progress of Ciudad Mujer could be an important indicator of an effective Funes’s administration capable of social investment despite serious fiscal challenges.
first photo from the official website of Mauricio Funes.
second photo from the website of Movimiento Amigos de Mauricio