Happy International Women’s Day! At EcoViva we work with many strong, intelligent, and resilient women who we celebrate today and throughout the year. This is the story of Carmen Argueta, President of the Mangrove Association. It originally appeared in our Fall 2013 Newsletter. For more stories about the women we work with, please visit our Facebook page.
Congratulations to Carmen Argueta, new President of the Mangrove Association!
Carmen Argueta has been a close ally and friend of EcoViva for many years. She became directly involved with La Coordinadora, the social movement associated with the Mangrove Association, in 1998 when they declared the Lower Lempa region a Local Zone of Peace. She initially worked as a member of a women’s group, managing an elevated house project to decrease flood vulnerability. In 2004, she joined the Mangrove Association’s Board of Directors. As EcoViva’s flagship partner organization in El Salvador, the Mangrove Association (known locally as Asociación Mangle) implements all the projects we fund in country. The Board of Directors takes on a critical role, acting as a full-time, 5-member executive team.
Carmen follows in the footsteps of Estela Hernández, the President prior to Carmen. In 2012, Estela was voted into the National Legislature of El Salvador, becoming the first female representative from her department of Usulután.
When asked about her achievements, Carmen is quick to point to her role in advocating for women’s leadership.
“It is an achievement that as a woman, I am President. When one woman left the position, another women came in as the President of the organization….In the beginning, only the men knew how to manage projects…It was a difficult struggle. There were men that didn’t want their wives to participate. It was our job to explain to the men that…they needed to recognize the basic human rights of women.”
Motivated by the strong local connections and the leadership, knowledge, and capacity that everyone involved has gained, Carmen looks forward to working with fellow board members to lead the Mangrove Association.
Congratulations, and ¡adelante!