A platform for voices supporting women's rights
The women have withheld conjugal rights from their partners in the “Crossed Legs Movement” in order to force authorities to improve the 35 mile road from their small town of Barbacoas, to the rest of the Nariño province. This crucial road is in terrible disarray and critically links the residents to the nearest hospital. The problems with the road have meant that women have little access to medical care, taking 12-14 hours to get to the nearest medical facilities, some women have even died on route to the hospital during labour.
This, however, is not the first sex strike to be undertaken by the women of Barbacoas. In July 2011, the group of women began the first “Crossed Legs Movement” to demand authorities to pave the very same road, which was ultimately unsuccessful. However, this is not simply a removal of conjugal indulgences, these women have refused to conceive any children until the condition of the road is drastically improved. Ruby Quinonez, one of the leaders of the original movement told El Tiempo: “We are being deprived of our most human rights and as women we can’t allow that to happen … Why bring children into this world when they can just die without medical attention and we can’t even offer them the most basic rights?”
After 3 and a half months of abstinence, it seems the protest has begun to take effect. Signs of materials and bulldozers have been reported along the road, as the Army Corps of Engineers appears to be active in assembling construction work. It seems these women have found an effective tool of protest, however it is important to underline that “sex strikes” should be part of a comprehensive strike programme, tackling the issue in question from as many angles as possible. To fail to do so may result in understandings about female power and persuasion being linked solely to the body, which can have dire consequences for women in the long-term.