The Asociaci6n Perd-Mujer was founded on March 8, 1979. It is a
private voluntary association duly registered under Peruvian law.
Its legal domicile is Lima, but it may extend its activities to any
area:of Peru. Dedicated to promoting community and national develop-
ment through research and action, its central interest is the parti-
cipation of women in these activities. It is a politically independ-
ent group with no religious affiliation.
The founding of Perd-Mujer was the culmination of a long procesJ of
informal collaboration on projects concerned with women which various
of the members have been engaged in since 1974. These have included
shared responsibility for research projects, the organization of e-
vents to disseminate the results of studies of Peruvian women, con-
sulting to the government, and work in non-formhl education. Others
of the members have carried on independent lines of work which have,
by their nature, been primarily directed to women, and they have
come to share a view of women's role as crucial to change.
Women's studies is a very new field in Peru. No formal university
program exists. While the most blatant types of discrimination a-
gainst women are prohibited by law, the concept of "affirmative action"
is unknown. Women suffer from educational disadvantages and the dis-
crimination of social norms which radically differentiate roles and
spheres of interest on the basis of sex. In this context, the long
and continuous involvement of the various members of Perd-Kujer in
research on women, and their identification with a feminist position
in the broadest sense of the term, have created around them a strong
network of persons with similar interests which the Asociaci6n in-
The professions represented among the eight present members of Perd-
Mujer are psychology, sociology, anthropology, education, medicine,
law, photography, and art. Perd-Majer does not exclude men from mem-
bership, and three of the associates are men.
Velasoo carried out a study of middle class urban women in 1970.1
Figueroa is widely identified with her seminal study of domestic
servants in 1975 a study in which Lora and Velasoo also had a
role. Kasfas has investigated women's perception of men as it var-
ies by their educational level and social class. Nolte has devel-
oped a collection of photographs and slides of women, and she has
acted as a buyer and promoter of women's folk art. Soto has been
an active participant in a community-based program of medical ser-
vices and health education in the pueblos jovenes (marginal neigh-
borhoods) of Lima. He has worked in medical extension and research
in the Andean and jungle areas. Dasso accumulated experience in li-
teracy training and non-formal education with children and adults in
rural areas of the Department of Lima in 1971-73, and in urban Lima
in 1974-76. Maslas has practised group therapy for women and has ad-
vised and trained staff of a large program of family planning and sex
Figueroa, Lora, and Velasoo were, in 1975, associated with the 00NAMUP
(Comisi6n Naoional de la Mujer Peruana) to date, the only signi-
ficant official effort to put women's issues on the national agenda.
In 1978, Figueroa was invited to the COPRED Women in Development con-
ference in San Francisco. Dasso and Figueroa were participants in
the Women in Management IV and III seminars in October and May of
1979, respectively, of the Centre for Population Activities in Wash-
ington, D. C. Figueroa and Velasoo were commissioned by the Overseas
Bduoation Fund to write a field report on the ohildoare needs of low-
inoome families in rural and urban Peru in 1978.3 They presented the
results of this study in a national workshop and at an international
meeting of Third World representatives in the following year.
Anderson, Jeanine M. "The Middle Class Woman in the Family and the
Comamnitys Lima, Peru." Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell
University, Ithaoa, New York (1978).
2Fgueroa Galup, Blanoa. "Bstudio del rol ooupacional de la mujers
dom6stioas." Lima: Instituto Naoional de Investigaci6n y Desarrollo
de la Eduoaoi6n.
Anderson, Jeanine N., Figueroa Galup, Blanoa, and Marifes, Ana.
Child Care in Urban and Rural Peru. Washington, D. C.: Overseas
Education Fund (1979).
The association's statutes provide for a category of "transient"
members associated with specific projects as well as full voting
members. A third category of sustaining members channels a certain
amount of financial support in the form of private donations.
The full membership meets monthly. The board of directors meets,
on the average, twice a week. Present officers are Jeanine Velasco,
coordinator; Blanca Pigueroa, secretary; and Elizabeth Dasso, trea-
surer. Work on specific projects is distributed according to the
special interest and competence of each of the members.
The opportunities represented by events over the past years have
channeled the first activities of Perd-Mujer in two clear lines of
work: (1) the provision of childcare and related services in low-
income, marginal communities, both rural and urban, and (2) training
in leadership and managerial skills of the women delegates to the
neighborhood associations of the pueblos jovenes (barriadas, or "squat-
Perd-Mujer has drawn up and is circulating two proposals that would
provide a solution to the need for childcare and other services for
women and children in the two communities, urban and rural, diagnosed
in 1978, with the intention that these projects serve to develop a
methodology for addressing similar needs in other low-income com-
munities. Since the research showed family income to be the major
determinant of the nutritional state of preschool children, these pro-
posals take the mothers' opportunities for income-generation as the
essential starting point. The urban proposal suggests a type of fa-
mily daycare in what we have denominated "mini-cunas" specifi-
oally adapted to the conditions of urban marginal neighborhoods.
The Asociai;i6n's interest in imparting managerial and organizational
skills to women leaders of the pueblos jovenes was reinforced in Jan-
uary of 1980, when the Centre for Population Activities brought its
"Women in Management" course to Peru for a trial experience in a Third
World country. One of the participants, herself representative of
the women's committee of her pueblo oven, made the original sugges-
tion that Perd-Mujer sponsor training courses which would meet the
needs of the elected delegates to the women's committees which, by
one name or another, exist in the greet majority of these marginal
While these two areas have become priority areas in the immediate
concerns of Perd-Mujer, the statutes list other objectives which are
also of special interest: stimulating women's participation in deci-
sion-making at all levels; vocational training; stimulating research
on women in Peru and disseminating the results of existing studies,
both nationally and internationally; providing health services, in-
oluding pre- and post- natal and family planning as permitted by
Peruvian law; organizing seminars, conferences, and other forums for
the exchange of information and reflection on the situation of Peru-
vian women; cooperation with women's groups in other countries, espe-
cially other Latin American countries; and work in the mass media as
they affect women's self-knowledge and self-image.
Groups such as Perd-Mujer justify themselves as they are able to chan-
nel resources to grassroots women, who are those who suffer directly
the consequences of poverty and underdevelopment. As persons and as
professionals, we are committed to the task of increasing the flow of
information, technical skills, and material resources to the poor, es-
pecially the women among them, whose presence we believe to be essen-
tial if change and development are to occur. Peru is a multilingual
and multicultural country, and our activities must respect these dis-
tinctive traditions. Similarly, our presence in any community must
be with the knowledge and approval of its own authorities, and should
contribute to strengthening local organization and local capacity for
decision as to the future.
Lima, Peru. June of 1980