Battle of the Sexes

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"Battle of the Sexes"

Had the daughters and wives of the countryside played a part in the committees in Tunnel Six and elsewhere? Was it common for a woman to bring a dispute before the assembly? What did the fact of the conflict's setting a pair of women against each other say about solidarity and division by gender in the countryside? Could a woman ever be a rondero? In 1977, a woman's committee was organized in Cuyumalca by Omelia Lopez. Omelia was soon to be the first president of the women's committee. The question is why did it take this long for women to be heard?

At the time women's complaints of domestic violence and village thefts were almost completely dismissed and ignored by Peru's national authorities. Also many women chose not to get involved. They strongly were believers that men were the ones in charge and the woman belonged in the home. Women were to believe that they were tied by nature to the pettiness of jealousy and scandal, less able than men to see what was best for the family and village. From what they were taught, it was just not possible, until Omelia. Omelia did have some help from Daniel Idrogo, an organizer from the Communist Party of Peru-Red Homeland. Daniel is a strong believer in Maoism. The Chinese leader had often repeated that "without the participation of women there can be no victory against imperialism". Daniel said. "The rondas would be stronger if everybody participated". So what were their goals?

The main task was to accompany and support their men. The women's committee was only an appendage of the ronda committee, which was run by men. So even if the women weren't as high as the men's status, they were still doing something about and being heard for once. The chief duty was to enforce the male obligation to take a turn on the nightwatch. Women were necessary in the making the rondas an instrument of peasant power and revolution. With each organization came problems. For instance, Lack of...
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