Conservatives fight 'gender agenda'

05 March 2017

Thousands of people marched through Lima and other cities on 4 March in protest at the government’s attempts to create gender equality as part of the national school curriculum. They were supported by conservative church groups, both Catholic and evangelical, as well as opposition parliamentarians from the pro-Fujimori Fuerza Popular party.

The fight over gender issues in Peru has thus continued to intensify. Ministers from several government departments, including education, women, health, culture and justice, have released videos in support of the idea that men and women are equal and that gender roles are social constructions that should be taught in schools. Their stance has been supported by the various United Nations organisations in Peru.

The religious groups that have allied themselves in the collective known as ‘Don’t Mess with my Children’. As the school year begins, they are being mobilised all over the country with the aim of showing that large number of parents oppose the government’s plans and want to abolish the school curriculum.

This week Marilú Martens, the new education minister, was invited to Congress to defend her policies. She was taken to task by several legislators from the religious right who object to the government’s educational policies. FP congresswoman Nelly Cuadros, from Cuzco, attacked her asking her if she had been born a woman or “had become one”. She demanded Martens’s resignation. Cuadros claimed, falsely, that there is a law making it illegal to protest against the curriculum. Along with others in the ‘Don’t Mess with my Children’ collective, she claims that the curriculum aims to encourage homosexuality among children.

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