• Gender & Race in Cuba: An Anthropological Perspective Lourdes Serrano Peralta PhD Interview

    Gorry, Conner

    Abstract in English:

    How does a developing island nation, beleaguered by climatic challenges and 60 years of adverse geo-political pressures become a beacon of scientific innovation, medical services and applied research—all on a shoestring budget? What’s more, how does such a country, rooted in a traditional patriarchal paradigm, overcome barriers to create a scientific and medical community where the majority of researchers and professionals are women? These are some of the questions that motivated MEDICC Review to publish this series on Cuba’s women in STEM (science, technology and math). Spanning a variety of themes and disciplines exploring the history of women and science; the role of female protagonists in the development of Cuba’s public health and biopharmaceutical sectors; and results produced by women professionals and their colleagues, these interviews illuminate lessons learned and what strategies might be applicable, adapted and replicable in other contexts. This time, we explore the intersection of gender and race in Cuba, a country with the world’s thirdhighest percentage of female parliamentarians—many of them women of color. To help us better understand this complex topic, we spoke with Dr Lourdes Serrano, who served as Director of the Cuban Anthropology Institute* (under the aegis of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment and the Cuban Academy of Sciences) from 1991 to 2005. During her tenure there, Dr Serrano’s research focused almost exclusively on gender and race, including the impact of structural and policy changes since 1959; the manifestations of discrimination and bias in contemporary Cuba; and the role of women in economic, cultural and political life. A lifelong scholar and teacher, Dr Serrano is currently professor at the University of Havana in the Cuban History and Caribbean Studies Departments, and also a coordinator of the Afro-Descendant Caribbean Women’s program in the University’s Caribbean Studies Department.
Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba Oakland - California - United States
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