Women picketing a woman for International Women’s Day

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So, does being female mean being in need of special protection? Not to Panama’s feminists, who will be picketing the office of arguably the country’s highest-ranking female public official.

No slack for Attorney General Kenia Porcell on International Women’s Day!

From 8 a.m. until noon on Wednesday, March 8, there will be feminists picketing in front of the Public Ministry (across from Parque Porras), where Attorney General Kenia Porcell works. It might be argued that Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo ranks higher than Porcell, but the VP is pretty much subordinate to President Varela, while the AG is pretty much autonomous. Regardless, it seems that the Odebrecht scandal involves very few women, that it was greedy men paying and receiving the bribes. But the women of this country paid just like the men, and because there is systematic discrimination in job opportunities and pay scales on the whole women could afford the corruption tax less than men.

In any case March 8 is International Women’s Day. To start the day’s observances local feminists felt it appropriate to picket Porcell’s office that morning. There is great apprehension, given a new plea bargaining law, that Porcell might make a deal that lets Odebrecht pay a fine and allows those whom it bribed to go unidentified and unpunished.

There are many other issues that feminists have with the legal system of which Porcell is a major leader. The high incidence of violence against women, pervasive gender discrimination, impunity for money laundering of assets stolen from women in the course of divorce proceedings and lax enforcement of child support orders are some of the grievances.


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