My grandmother never made it to College, but graduated 'with honors' from LIFE. Thinking about the role of women in Rio+20, I couldn't stop thinking about her. She was born in Hualahuises a very small town in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. She had the temper and the strong character from which "norteñas" (women from the north in Mexico) are well known.
It was in the morning of July 3, 1955 when Sofia Aguirre de Ponce was the first in line to vote, carrying her 5 kids and a crying baby (my mom) in her arms, but that didn't stop her to come and vote. It was the first time in Mexico that women were allowed to vote, and she was 28 years old, and as she used to say "I've waited enough". After that, she became politically active, she was a leader, always fighting for women's rights, during a time in which that term was still being "coined".
I think this event made such an impact in her life, she felt in charge, she felt a taste of equality, and always reminded me about how lucky I was that I was born during a time in which women are taking over all sectors in political, social and economic life. I am the second generation that was able to go to College, I finished a Master Degree in Spain, I have lived abroad in 2 different countries that I call now "my casitas", the places that I feel also as my HOME, and indeed those were very far and outside of the Hualahuises Map that my grandma kept in the kitchen. I've been able to vote, ever since I was 18 years old. My first time voting, took place during the historical elections of 2000, when Vicente Fox won the elections after more than 70 years of one political party ruling the country. I have seen the CHANGE she had to wait for a lifetime.
She taught me that real strength is taking charge of your own destiny and not waiting on others to do so. That incredible woman is no longer among us, but her granddaughter is now going to continue the tradition she started, and on June 20th 2012, Blanca Peña-Ponce is going be first in line for the Rio+20 Conference, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I am sure, she will be there too, smiling at me from somewhere.
I love the idea of this group "Women on the road to Rio+20", this is also my way of taking charge of the challenges that my world is facing today. Whether those challenges are: Democracy and governance, climate change, sustainable business, entrepreneurship, gender, young engagement or education, this is my way of letting my voice be heard, stand up for the things I care about, this is also my right and my blessing to be able to DO something about it.
I do it for myself, but also for all women that as my grandma "have waited enough", for those women who had to wait and fight for the right time to come, for all of those women who are still in the shadows of despair, who deserve opportunities in education, for those women that still have so much to say, and so much to share, and dream and built. The time has come...
So, Rio +20, here we go!
Blanca Y. Peña (MEXICO)