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Mujer sentada en cuclillas en un campo. Viste ropa deportiva y usa una prótesis en la pierna.

In biology, the term is used for a female human; this means a person who has a female genital system or a female reproductive system (vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, vulva).

These biological characteristics establish a social and cultural construct of the meaning of woman. Historically, a person is only a woman if they have the qualities that are considered feminine, for example, delicacy and fragility. Women have also been associated with certain gender roles, which are usually restricted to the domestic sphere. When a person does not meet the social mandates and expectations that are associated with being a woman, it can lead to discrimination.

Fortunately, actions to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment are changing this reality. There is now an increasing number of women in government offices, high-ranking positions, and with financial independence. At the same time, social mandates are changing and women are now able to participate in any field, including science, mechanics, sports, or any other.

The sexual and gender diversity collectives understand that a woman as a person who identifies themselves as such, and that there are multiple ways to be a woman. On the other hand, some waves of feminism—such as gender critical feminism—reject this stance and insist that self-recognition is not enough to be a woman. This debate is absolutely relevant.

Finally, in the consultations to develop this reflectary, a group in Latin America mentioned the expression people assigned female at birth, which is extensively used in women’s and trans men or masculine trans organizations. The goal with this concept is to delve into the original experience of being a ‘woman’ as a political category against each person’s self-identified gender identity.

Photo credit: Dean Drobot

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