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'Being the first Maya Mam woman in the media has also inspired more young women to occupy spaces in the media'
Glendy Agustin Jiguan is taking TikTok by storm with her informative videos on the rights of the indigenous population in Guatemala.
The 23-year-old from Comitancillo, Guatemala, is one of the first Maya Mam women to use the media to engage on a range of issues that affect the Mayan people including violence, land dispossession and natural resources.
Glendy is now producing audiovisual messages in her native Mam and Spanish for use on different platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tik Tok, radio and television. Her videos on issues that affect Mayan peoples have more than 60,000 likes on TikTok.
@glendyagustin0♬ El Rey Quiche – Marimba Maderas de Guatemala
The indigenous population of Guatemala, especially women and young people in rural areas of the Western Region of the country, have historically had limited access to their social, political and economic rights and have been subjected to repression, racism and discrimination.
In 2018, Glendy joined a women’s space at the Mayan People’s Council and took part in Communications workshops which aimed to inform and raise awareness among the general population about relevant issues concerning Mayan Peoples.
“The Communications workshops allowed me to develop my writing, photography, video and social media skills. Before joining the Mayan People’s Council’s communications team, I had very few skills and was unaware of many issues. The training helped me to become a more effective communicator on the issues affecting the Mayan peoples,” Glendy said.
The women’s space, run by Trócaire partner Association Peace and Ecology Commission (COPAE) with funding from the EU and Trócaire, aimed to strengthen the individual and collective capacities of Mayan peoples through workshops on empowerment, networking and participation.
“Being the first Maya Mam woman in the media has also inspired more young women to occupy spaces in the media. Many young women are now working in areas occupied only by men, such as journalism, sports journalism, film and photography,” Glendy said.
“There is still a long way to go to overcome the structural and historical problems that the Maya people suffer from. This training provided by COPAE, with funding from the EU, is a vital step for young people to know their rights, and to become empowered member of society.”
Ana Dalia Ramírez García (24), a Maya Mam leader from Guatemala, also took part in the training at the Mayan People’s Council.
Ana, who is from Huehuetenango, wanted to promote a fairer, more inclusive society that upheld the rights of indigenous people and allowed them to participate actively in democratic spaces and became a teacher of Intercultural Bilingual Early Childhood Education.
“In 2018, I joined the women’s space run by COPAE and the space changed my life. I began to participate, to listen and internally I told myself this is what I was looking for. The training changed my mind about women’s potential to be leaders. I now have the skills to express myself in front of crowds. I can lead,” Ana said.
Shortly after joining, Ana began to look for more spaces where she could learn and talk to others about human rights.
“It became clear to me that in order to live in a country with equal opportunities, it is necessary to unlearn what we have been taught in traditional schools, not to be ashamed of my identity, to develop knowledge to create healthy, emancipatory women’s leadership, free from historical and current oppressions.”
Ana identified a need for childcare for women who participated in training, and began to work as a caregiver. She then went on to work for the Ministry of Culture and Sports and began conducting workshops on the Mayan culture.
“I used the workshops to share what I learned and motivate others to join the struggle to build and create opportunities for women. I also continue to participate in trainings and I am a referent for the Mam region for the Mayan People’s Council. My struggle will always be to ensure equal rights between men and women and to change our reality that currently keeps us oppressed,” Ana said.