How women and girls are treated in Nicaragua is a very controversial question. I just recently had a conversation about this at my daughter’s school. Foreign women have noticed that women here in Nicaragua tend to be a little bit more submissive to their male counterparts. They are used to having a man dominate the finances. Most girls go to college and then become stay-at-home moms, which is extremely weird. It’s almost like they essentially go to college to get married and they are proud of being stay-at-home moms.
Being a woman here in Nicaragua is like being in the US in the 1950s. Nicaraguan women are amazing hostesses. They throw these really nice parties and they are very social. They have get-togethers a lot. Nicaraguan men usually have their wives cater to the guests. As a foreign woman here in Nicaragua, it feels like being in a time warp. In a weird way, I really like it! But then something inside of me realizes that I don’t know if I’m completely in agreement with how things work here.
I think that I’m a different type of person. For example, I think that girls should be equal to boys, which is something we just talked about at the school. We just had an open house at the school when a European mom brought it up. She asked, “How are you implementing gender equality into the curriculum?” The teachers didn’t know how to take the question and address it properly. It was a disaster.
You can see that from the last several years that women are slowly shifting into gender equality and the equality of roles. More women are starting to realize that they don’t have to stay at home and they could be working moms. They are realizing that they don’t have to be home and do everything by themselves such as cooking and cleaning. They are starting to slowly wake up and say, “No, we should be partners in the home.” This shouldn’t be controversial but it so deeply ingrained in the culture of the country of Nicaragua that a transition is going to take a very long time.
As an expat woman, I do not feel uncomfortable at all being in Nicaragua. However, I do not feel like I could not have married a Nicaraguan just because I don’t like their philosophy of life. Their spousal relationships are a little bit complicated but it is not like in the Middle East where you are not allowed to do things as a woman and being a woman is somewhat like a curse. It is not like that in Nicaragua but it is like being in the 1950s. Women here in Nicaragua are “Beverly Cleaver.” It’s like an episode from the Stepford Wives. They all dress the same and they kind of act the same.
If you go to Nicaragua, you will find that women do not really have an individual style. They are all preppy and they all look like they live on Wisteria Lane from the Desperate Housewives.
(The American and Spanish version of the poster for Desperate Housewives, pictured.)