This month, in honor of Father’s Day, we interviewed Wingler Manfredo Ajú, a new driver for the Women’s Justice Initiative. As the father of a four-year-old daughter, he talks about the role that men and fathers play in reducing gender inequality and the importance of WJI’s work.
WJI: What role do you think fathers and men play in ending gender-based violence?
Manfredo: In order to put an end to gender violence, we must start from home with an education. As parents, we long for a future free of any type of violence for our children. Some parents do not always teach their sons to respect women, and that is where organizations like WJI come in to give training addressing the different types of violence. Men also need to receive training on sexism and understand that a person can be violent not just physically, but also psychologically and with words. When men learn these types of things, they can be an example in the home and in society.
WJI: Why do you think the work of WJI is important?
Manfredo: WJI is very important for Guatemala, its departments [states], municipalities, and for the most vulnerable communities where many types of violence exist. For example, labor exploitation of children, machismo, and women not knowing their rights: all of these are problems in many of our communities. That is why WJI has been characterized as a major help and advocate for women who are unaware of the issues they have regarding the violence that exists today.
WJI: What are your dreams for your daughter? What type of world do you want for her?
Manfredo: My dreams for my daughter are that she be a respectful and principled girl, obtaining these values with a good education starting from the home. We all deserve a world free of gender inequality, bullying, and the types of violence that exist in our country. I believe that all of us as parents long for a future free of violence for our children and for them to live happily knowing their rights.
WJI: What do you do in your home or community to support women?
Manfredo: As I mentioned, the example starts from home. In my house, I do 50% of the household chores to be able to help my wife since I think that not only women have that obligation to do these types of things, but also men should as well. However, unfortunately, many men in our community have a type of thinking that prevents them from providing help to women and that can be summed up in a single word: machismo!
Men can play a big role in ending violence against women! Stand up today for women’s rights!