#8M: Music for equality

Every March 8, since 1975, International Women’s Day is commemorated, a date declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization that serves to rethink our commitments and objectives around the contribution and impact of the work that is done to achieve the fullness of the rights of all women without distinction.

This important date for society, and for the world, is not carried out under the framework of a celebration, but within the framework of a commemoration of the struggle of women for their participation in various areas of society, access to rights, and their integral development in equal opportunities. This date invites citizens and institutions to reflect on the challenges and obstacles faced by girls, adolescents and women in the search for their rights and encourages us to continue strengthening strategies, policies and interventions that allow us to claim the rights of all, managing to promote their trajectories and life plans with autonomy and equality.

A year ago… 

Last year, our commitments for this date motivated us to carry out a special initiative, called the Week of Commemoration for International Women’s Day, where we created a social communication campaign that counted with the participation of five representatives of our organization, who gave us testimonies, one day at a time, about various topics related to women’s empowerment, tools for development, equal opportunities, and more.  

This year, we consider the Day of the Representation of Women in Sinfonía por el Perú, with the intention of generating spaces for positive debate, exchange of ideas and strategies, narration of experiences and the generation of proposals through dialogue tables, with ten participants who exercise different roles in Sinfonía por el Perú. These spaces allow us to glimpse how we have contributed as an organization in the integral development of girls and what opportunities for improvement we can take to further measure our impact on the empowerment and autonomous development of women through music.

Under this premise, two dialogue tables were created: one organized with adult representatives of Sinfonía, where Jessenia Pacheco, Manager of Social Intervention, Andrea Soto, Coordinator of Social Intervention Projects, and the musical directors of the Lima Sur, La Victoria and Lima Norte centers, Ana Landaeta, Elizabeth Ávila, and María Fernanda Hernández, respectively, participated.

The second dialogue table was composed by Karla Reyes, Pamela Mañueco and Ana Paula Macalopu, beneficiaries of the Youth Orchestra and Choir that represented the main ensembles, and Luciana Llacsahuanga, beneficiary of the Lima Sur Center.

Women leaders and the construction of paths to autonomy.    
One of the most important points developed in the conversation was the need to generate greater opportunities for women to access strategic positions in the field of work and education, forming women leaders who are the face of a sustainable and fairer tomorrow. In this sense, in Symphony we have safe and protective spaces that allow all our beneficiaries to develop fully, where the impact of our interventions not only translates into the artistic-musical field, but also into human, psychological and social development. Within this methodology of integral intervention, we highlight the role of our teachers, directors and coordinators, who play a fundamental role and become referents of one of the objectives of our organization: to profile more and more women leaders who, with autonomy, build their life trajectories.

“As long as we have more women role models, the impact on the beneficiaries will be much greater”

“It is important to have positive references not only in directors and instructors, but also in the young women of the Main Ensembles” he concludes.

Jessenia Pacheco.

Jessenia Pacheco.

Likewise, our work seeks training and coexistence based on equal rights, where boys and girls coexist in equal conditions and opportunities, developing in a system of community construction that also strengthens the exercise of citizenship and trains future agents of change that promote integral inclusion. 

“We have to train boys so that this open and inclusive mentality is even more positive, from Sinfonía we can collaborate and emphasize the Symphony Effect (Efecto Sinfonía) within the center and contribute with our grain of sand, starting to teach girls the power they have since childhood”.

Maria Fernanda Hernandez.

Barriers and gaps along the way 
Another of the fundamental points that was generated during the dialogue was the path towards the elimination of gender barriers and gaps, and stereotypes that affect women and their role in society, where historically they have been pigeonholed in tasks that limit their abilities and directly interfere in their professional and personal development. From this perspective, the importance of working from the family nucleus to reduce behaviors with macho flaws and stereotypes that in the future become gender barriers, is one of the priorities in Sinfonía por el Perú, where our efforts are focused not only on impacting the lives of the beneficiaries, but also on their family environment.

“The fact that there are more girls than boys in Sinfonúa is because men are associated with other activities, such as sports, and girls are more related to art. That’s one of the thoughts we’re working on to eradicate.”

Ana Landaeta.

Thus, there is also a need to address this problem from a pedagogical approach, where the path towards the elimination of gaps and barriers is accompanied by the inclusion of the families of our beneficiaries to further improve our system that seeks to transform lives and become agents of change for society.

“The family issue has to be reinforced, training parents, since some have grown up in a macho environment, without being aware of it. Playful games or orientation activities could be carried out from the organization”.

Karla Reyes.

Efforts to eradicate violence 
The eradication of violence against women is another of the major social problems where we seek to have a concrete impact through collective musical training, managing to reduce the rates of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence of girls, adolescents and young people who participate in the organization, maximizing the impact of #EfectoSinfonía, where the use of physical punishment for disobedience* was reduced by 48% and the reduction of physical punishment* by 42%, in general, of our beneficiaries in their family environment.  

“I believe that we are doing our bit by providing a safe environment where everyone is treated in an equitable manner and no type of aggression is allowed, no matter how normalized.”

Andrea Soto.

We still have a long way to go to guarantee the rights of women in Peru and in the world, where the concepts of equality are not only recognized, but also applied in all areas of life, the exercise of citizenship, and everyday life. Achieving this fullness will be achieved thanks to the articulated work between the State, civil society, organizations, institutions, and from the personal commitments that we set as a goal.  

Finally, the dialogue tables leave us one of the best reflections and testimonies from the hand of Karla Reyes, beneficiary of the Youth Orchestra of our Main ensembles, who narrates an experience around the advances of the struggle for the representativeness of women in society

“I have a clear example: in the Tour Sinfonía 2022 where I participated and saw the Vienna Philharmonic, I found it very interesting, because before men predominated, as well as conductors. Today, women have a greater share of participation, which indicates that we are progressing both in the musical world and in society itself.”

Karla Reyes.

Institutional visit of Juan Diego Florez to the headquarters of Sinfonia by Peru / Photos: Angela Ponce

Music for equality 
Through our Symphony Effect (Efecto Sinfonía) impact evaluation studies, we have shown how our work contributes to providing better opportunities and reducing gender gaps. For example, the prevalence of teenage pregnancy* was reduced by 75%, a 57% reduction in unprotected sex in women*, and a 33% reduction in the origin of severe risk behaviors*. In addition, time spent caring for relatives, housework and work was reduced by 15%*, which is an achievement of our social intervention model, and great advances that inspire us to continue working for a better country, and a better world for all.

*Source: “Second Experimental Impact Measurement of the Social Symphony for Peru program“, research done by the Development Analysis Group – GRADE.

Sinfonía por el Perú, transforming lives through music.

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