Like almost all indigenous Guatemalan women, I master the art of the loom. This simple tool made with sticks and strings is tied to our waist and allows us to create wonderful fabrics with drawings of almost perfect geometry. The traditional colors form a rainbow that we dedicate to our ancestors and who represent Ix Chel or rainbow woman, the great Mayan Goddess who governs love, pregnancy, textile works and the moon. One of its symbols is precisely the loom and she is protective of women during childbirth.
Curiously, our dress is both one of our most important hallmarks and our main reason for discrimination. While many big fashion firms imitate our designs in dresses, bags and home items, which you may have in your own home, we are separated and excluded when we wear it, because we are considered inferior. And even though we represent a quarter of the population of Guatemala, we suffer from non-schooling, gender violence and deprivation of services and basic rights.