With this premise, during Women’s History Month, Girl Pioneers and women leaders of MAIA aim to emphasize that women have the ability to solve and transform those problems that affect us as Guatemalans, as well as the rejection of the recently discarded bill 5272, which sought to undermine the rights of women and diverse populations.
MAIA is an organization that seeks to generate systemic change by empowering Indigenous women and youth in Guatemala. We emphasize our commitment to empowering women and girls through a unique educational model that goes beyond academics, promoting their talents to become a generation of leaders who impact their families, their communities, their country, and our world.
As women and girls, we are the solution; we are not the problem. Since 2020, we began to speak out in public about our rights, and in 2022, we continue to raise our voice:
Empowering women through empowerment
In addition, MAIA has four strategic goals:
Economic autonomy—allowing each graduate of the MAIA Impact School to access a job and a living wage.
Lifelong learning—MAIA’S Girls Pioneers have access to education for 15 years, and 100% of 18-year-olds from the Impact School stay in school, compared to a national dropout rate of 64% (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, 2018).
We promote a family on their own terms, which means that our graduates are on average 25 years old before they get married or become pregnant, so they can make informed decisions and have access to holistic educational support. In Guatemala, 57% of women become mothers before the age of 18.
Guatemala has the lowest level of women’s participation in politics in the hemisphere. MAIA is working to change this by increasing women’s leadership at all levels of society. Through our mentoring curriculum, peer-to-peer support network, and monthly family home visits, Girls Pioneers develop the internal strength, skills, and emotional intelligence they need to be leaders They are empowered to empower.
A law that undermines the rights of women
On March 8, the Congreso de la República de Guatemala approved the 5272 Bill (Decree 18-2022) “Law for the life and the family,” ironically on International Women’s Day. Although it was shelved by the Congreso de la República on March 16; under pressure from many civil society sectors, collectives, and organizations, as well as at the request of the president; we still deem it to be dangerous as it reflects a lack of respect and undermines the rights of women and diverse populations in Guatemala.
Therefore, MAIA—as an organization led by Indigenous women that works with young Indigenous women who are strong, courageous, and break stereotypes—stands up for the rights of women. To honor our ancestors and daughters, we demand respect for our rights, and we reject every law that undermines our rights.
Appropriate that my first blog in MAIA relates to my departure. This communication will hopefully help you understand the intricacies of MAIA’s most recent leadership transition.