The three women in this edition’s cover story got pregnant when they were single and hadn’t completed their education. Today they lead very different lives.
Two of them (Karen and Heilym) finished college and had a support network that included the children’s fathers. Greylim, on the other hand, barely finished high school after having her child. She’s currently studying for her technical degree while she works as a clerk in a co-op. The child’s father has vanished.
Karen and Heilym’s stories are an example of what happens when maternity is a matter of mother and father and not just the woman who carried the baby around for nine months. As the proverb says: “It takes a village to raise a child”, but it seems that neither citizens nor authorities are clear on this.
The statistic that 80% of mothers in Guanacaste have only a high school degree is alarming and sadly coincides with other realities like domestic violence and street harassment against women.
That’s why this discussion isn’t only about empowering women but rather educating men: insisting on sexual and emotional education in high schools so that boys, from a young age, learn to take responsibility for the human beings they procreate.
If you repeat the tired phrases “She wanted to get pregnant” or “She’s nobody’s bitch” when a young woman gets pregnant, you’re eliminating all traces of responsibility of the man who participated exactly 50% in the act and who should have the same percentage of commitment for the rest of his life.
It’s also true that institutions like the Ministry of Public Education, the National Institute for Women, and universities should pay attention to this lack of education in mothers and follow the example of the Universidad Nacional, which offers daycare and alternative schedules for mothers.
The statistics have demonstrated that when more women join the labor market, a country’s economy prospers more. But discriminating them for being mothers doesn’t help anyone in the system: motherhood is not an individual matter; it’s all of our concern.