Mothers, Women and Funding for HIV/AIDS: Putting one against the other?
During this International Women’s Day I want to send a question to the world,
the feminists, the
women’s advocates and
specially donors.I am an HIV advocate since 2000 when I discovered my HIV positive status. All over these years,funding for women on the HIV/AIDS arena has not been abundant. The first gender barriers Iencountered were among people working on HIV/AIDS, who would argue women were notaffected by HIV, since HIV was known as health problem affecting mostly men.I was the only, or the second woman among many gay men living with HIV for some years.Nowadays, things have changed, I am not glad for this. I see now more women living with HIV, andthey are not necessarily part of the
so called- vulnerable groups, they are ordinary women, like Iwas when I got HIV.Maybe I am wrong, and I so much want to be wrong; and to understand better the fundingphilosophy on HIV/AIDS, in other development issues, it might be different, but HIV is case the oneI know. I wish I could see examples in which my perception could be challenged.I see there is a lot of money (not in my country) for HIV prevention activities. This money issupposed to be for women when in fact it is not for women but using women as the medium toprevent HIV transmission to children, the general population and to se
x workers’ clients
. But thismoney is not directed to empower women and girls. Therefore, more and more women continueto acquire HIV.I even feel (and I am not the only one), that some donors are only funding activities directed topregnant women or to mothers, and the rest of women are left to their own destiny. I wonder:
Could it be that funding on HIV/AIDS is putting mothers against women?
In most societies and cultures motherhood is valued as the one marker of feminine identity;therefore, it is not difficult to understand why women will get pregnant: in doing so they will
become “official women”. A Mexican feminist Anthropologist like Marcela Largarde
women only when they become mothers: this is a realityto the point that motherhood makes many women captives. If this is the case, donors are justreinforcing the stereotype as mother=woman. My own country, Bolivia, has a small bonus forpregnant women (Bono Madre Niño-
Niña “Juana Azurduy”
I sincerely thank Alice Welbourn for helping me correct the English grammar.