The challenge of gender equality in the Peruvian Amazon – CIDSE

The challenge of gender equality in the Peruvian Amazon

CIDSE interviewed Domi Szkatula, missionary with Polish origins who has lived 37 years in Peru. Throughout these years she has gotten to know the whole Vicariate of San José del Amazonas working in different mission posts, in positions that had never before been occupied by a woman, and visiting all of the posts annually for 11 years when she was the Coordinator of the General Pastoral Ministry of the Vicariate. Today, she is responsible for the Indigenous Pastoral, a position she has held for more than four years. She feels happy living in this corner of the planet and dealing with simple and humble people helps her to be closer to God, “to touch Him” as she says.

Her first assignment as a missionary was in Tamshiyacu, which she considers her “university of inculturation”. She was also in San Pablo, where she served the lepers and the people of Mazán, on the banks of the Napo, a tributary of the Amazon. There, together with two other lay women and in collaboration with animators and catechists, they created a new parish. For the past four years she has lived in Angoteros, on the border with Ecuador, and among the indigenous Kichwas in the Napuruna Mission “Pachaya” (which means “Father and Mother of time and space”).

In our conversation with Dominik we discussed many of the challenges faced by indigenous women in the Peruvian Amazon such as the difficult access to education, to health and to an active engagement in communities, where most decisional posts are covered by men. Dominik set up a training for women in the view to protect their cultural identity and worked to improve their engagement in the decision-making processes of communities. According to Dominik, in communities and in the Church, gender equality should be practiced daily with concrete actions to make women visible and heard.

You can download the full interview with Dominik below:

Credit photo 1: Domi Szkatula/Vicariato de San José de Amazonas, Perú 
Credit photo 2: Ana Palacios / CIDSE & REPAM

Share this content on social media