Women who use drugs

Exposing police bias against people who use drugs

The particular case of women drug users and keys to reducing discretionary power and discrimination in Colombia

Contributors
María José León-Marín, María Angélica Jiménez, Isabel Pereira Arana

Summary

In this article, we combine testimony from Brenda, a woman drug user in Colombia, and research for the book Women, Street and Prohibition: Care and Violence on Both Sides of the Otún to identify, describe and problematize the dynamics and patterns of police violence experienced by women who use drugs in the municipalities of Pereira and Dosquebradas, Colombia. In each section, we outline what Brenda says about police behaviour, the stigmatization of people who use drugs and the difficulties of applying transformative actions. Towards the end, we propose measures addressed to the police, public institutions and civil society that can help transform the concepts and practices of public security and reduce police violence, intimidation and discrimination against people who use drugs.

Keywords: people who use drugs; police violence; discrimination; security; Pereira; Dosquebradas

“I started using when I was 13, first smoking cannabis and then injecting heroin, but what really pushed me to the streets was my mom … my dad kept me away from her because she was a drug addict.”

Brenda, 25 years old

Brenda lives in the municipality of Dosquebradas, in Risaralda, Colombia, a place that has been marked by drug trafficking and use for the last thirty years.1According to the 2019 National Survey on the Consumption of Psychoactive Substances, Risaralda is the department with the second highest rate of illegal substance use and among the departments with the highest rates of heroin consumption. In this context, many persons who use drugs (PWUDs) live in poverty and are unaware of their rights and the means available to enforce them. The most common forms of livelihood for PWUDs are sex work and illicit activities linked to drug trafficking and use. For these individuals, daily survival is a priority. The unhealthy environment that surrounds them makes it difficult to invest time, money and energy to demand changes.

This is the case of Brenda, a woman living in a cambuche2A space arranged for sleeping and living in the street. near the shooting gallery3A place where drugs are sold and used. in the Libertadores neighbourhood. There she was physically assaulted by a policeman and was also the victim of police set-ups staged to seize drugs. Although the profile of PWUDs is diverse, in this article we focus on women who – like Brenda and those who participated in the research project Women, Street and Prohibition: Care and Violence on Both Sides of the Otún – in addition to using drugs, live in socioeconomic vulnerability and are subject to police violence. Based on their testimonies, we analyse the relationship between the police and women drug users in Pereira and Dosquebradas. To do so, we will: (i) define the powers held by the police regarding the use and sale of drugs, (ii) outline patterns of police violence and (iii) propose actions to eradicate police discrimination, discretionary power and violence against PWUDs.

Drugs, regulations and police powers

Following Ruling C-221 of 1994, the personal use of illicit substances was decriminalized in Colombia; it is allowed insofar as it does not exceed certain thresholds or amounts for personal use.4Congress of the Republic. Law No. 30 of 1986, National Drug Statute. Article 2. However, this has not brought respite to drug users, especially those who are frequently approached by the police either because of class or racial profiling or because of their living conditions. This situation is also fuelled by other regulations that, while not criminalizing drug use, enable administrative persecution. This is the case of the National Code of Security and Citizen Coexistence, a regulation created to discipline vulnerable and stigmatized populations such as PWUDs through 16 norms5Law No. 1801 of 2016, National Code of Security and Citizen Coexistence. Articles 33, no. 2; 34, nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4; 38, no. 5, subparagraph b and no. 6, subparagraph a; 39, no. 1; 134, no. 8; 140, nos. 7 and 8. that prohibit drug use in different spaces by means of “corrective measures”.6Such as fines, substance destruction, confiscation or transfers to temporary detention centers.

The police also support the investigation, persecution and prosecution of crimes related to drug trafficking, manufacture or possession.7Congress of the Republic. Law No. 599 of 2000, Criminal Code of Colombia. Articles 375, 376 and 377. In this sense, they may conduct operations, such as searches and raids, to support judicial authorities during criminal investigations. If, in this context, a police officer finds psychoactive substances exceding the quantities allowed for personal use8Congress of the Republic. Law No. 30 of 1986, National Drug Statute. Article 2. they may seize them9Congress of the Republic. Law No. 1801 of 2016, National Code of Security and Citizen Coexistence. Article 164; Congress of the Republic. Law No. 906 of 2004, Code of Criminal Procedure. Article 88. and apprehend the person suspected of committing the crime.10Congress of the Republic. Law No. 1801 of 2016, National Code of Security and Citizen Coexistence. Article 168; Congress of the Republic. Law No. 906 of 2004, Code of Criminal Procedure. Article 301, no. 1.

Selective police control over PWUDs

Several studies have shown that police violence targets those who most lack institutional protection.11Lalinde, Sebastián. Requisas, ¿a discreción? Una tensión entre seguridad e intimidad [Discretionary Searches? Tension Between Security and Privacy]. Bogotá: Editorial Dejusticia, 2015; Calvo Cortés, Verónica et al. Los nunca nadie N.N. [The Never Nobodies N.N.]. Bogotá: Temblores NGO, 2018; Lemaitre, Julieta and Albarracín, Mauricio. “Patrullando la dosis personal: la represión cotidiana y los debates de las políticas públicas sobre el consumo de drogas ilícitas en Colombia” [“Patrolling the Personal Dose: Everyday Repression and Public Policy Debates on Illicit Drug Use in Colombia”]. In Políticas antidroga en Colombia: éxitos, fracasos y extravíos [Anti-Drug Policies in Colombia: Successes, Failures and Mistakes]. Alejandro Gaviria and Daniel Mejía (comps.). Bogotá: Ediciones Uniandes, 2011. It is within this context that the stories of Brenda and those who participated in the research project Women, Street and Prohibition: Care and Violence on Both Sides of the Otún act as a starting point to understand the relationships between women who use psychoactive substances in addition to working as dealers; these women’s relationship with the police is premised on the threat of police set-ups and physical violence.

Illustration by Maria Pichel via femiñetas
Illustration by Maria Pichel via femiñetas

Police set-ups

On some occasions, the police manipulate the amount of a substance that a person is carrying in order to prosecute them for the crime of drug trafficking, which applies to cases of possession in amounts greater than the allowed personal dose and for the purposes of distribution.12Congress of the Republic. Law No. 599 of 2000, Criminal Code of Colombia. Article 376. Brenda explains it this way: “When they’re looking for someone or want to pester somebody, they hunt high and low to ‘load up’ that person.” To “load someone up” means to plant drug packages on someone so that the amount found during the search exceeds the permitted personal dose and calls for an arrest and prosecution. This is a threat to the people who inhabit these environments and a form of retaliation. Brenda experienced one of these set-ups at the shooting gallery when a raid was taking place: “The guys managed to stash most of the stuff, so I went inside and there were two piñas13Packages containing several bags of cannabis (10 of 30,000 pesos and 10 of 15,000 pesos). lying out there (in the street), so the tombo14Police officer, usually a patrolman. laid the blame on me.” As a result, she is now facing criminal charges.

To “load someone up” means to plant drug packages on someone so that the amount found during the search exceeds the permitted personal dose and calls for an arrest and prosecution.

Physical violence

The presence of the police is a synonym for danger for PWUDs, who have been abused on several occasions.15Pereira Arana, Isabel et al. Mujeres, calle y prohibición: cuidado y violencia a los dos lados del Otún [Women, Street and Prohibition: Care and Violence on Both Sides of the Otún]. Bogotá: Editorial Dejusticia, 2021. Page 130. Luisa Fernanda, another woman who shared her story, gave the following account: “They hit you and insult you, ‘malparidos, hijueputas, gonorreas chirretes’. They treat you like hell, as if you were an animal.”16Pereira Arana, Isabel et al. Mujeres, calle y prohibición: cuidado y violencia a los dos lados del Otún [Women, Street and Prohibition: Care and Violence on Both Sides of the Otún]. Bogotá: Editorial Dejusticia, 2021. Page 130. Gloria Elena, another user whose case is featured in the study, stated that one day, after taking away the money she had earned during the day, the tombos took her to the Immediate Response Unit (CAI) and forced her to undress: “[One of them] took me to the bathroom and made me strip.”17Pereira Arana, Isabel et al. Mujeres, calle y prohibición: cuidado y violencia a los dos lados del Otún [Women, Street and Prohibition: Care and Violence on Both Sides of the Otún]. Bogotá: Editorial Dejusticia, 2021. Page 85.

The simple fact of being and living in the street is a mark of vulnerability that the police take advantage of to abuse their power, although these episodes are largely underreported.

There is also retaliation. The day Brenda was arrested after being “loaded up” with the piñas, she called a policeman “Care Marrano”,18Cara de marrano, “swine face”. the nickname he was known by at the shooting gallery. In response, she received a beating: “He hit me in the back and arms. He said I had to learn to be respectful.” It is clear, then, that the simple fact of being and living in the street is a mark of vulnerability that the police take advantage of to abuse their power, although these episodes are largely underreported.19According to the reply from the Pereira Metropolitan Police to an inquiry made by the authors in 2020, in the previous five years there had been fewer than 30 episodes of police violence in Pereira and Dosquebradas.

The efficiency of selective control

As Brenda summarizes, the police “are ruder to consumers”. Thus, those who embody the state, such as uniformed police officers, exercise a sort of selective control: unequal and discriminatory treatment of PWUDs. This has also been investigated in Bogotá, where “the reason people are usually detained is not only consumption but consumption by persons linked to certain groups, as police profiling treats these individuals as potential troublemakers”.20Lemaitre, Julieta and Albarracín, Mauricio. “Patrullando la dosis personal: la represión cotidiana y los debates de las políticas públicas sobre el consumo de drogas ilícitas en Colombia” [“Patrolling the Personal Dose: Everyday Repression and Public Policy Debates on Illicit Drug Use in Colombia”]. In Políticas antidroga en Colombia: éxitos, fracasos y extravíos [Anti-Drug Policies in Colombia: Successes, Failures and Mistakes]. Alejandro Gaviria and Daniel Mejía (comps.). Bogotá: Ediciones Uniandes, 2011. Page 250.

With such profiling in place, reporting police abuse is not an option for those who, like Brenda, use drugs and find themselves in a vulnerable situation. “How can I report that? I live on the streets,” she says. Even so, Brenda was willing to report the beating, but she was held back by lack of time, ignorance regarding how to do it and lack of support. On top of this, she needs to work every day to make ends meet, faces two criminal charges for which she argues she has no legal support and is intimidated by the police: “They threaten people to load them up … they load you up and set up a hearing, and they find you guilty and finally there’s the conviction, and you are no longer free.” It is therefore reasonable that no one wants to report such acts. The lack of credibility on the part of the state makes it infeasible. PWUDs who are abused by the police do not know who to turn to; nor do they feel it is worth trying to do anything about it since it is unlikely anything will change. As Brenda says, “in the shooting gallery, there is a game of cat and mouse.”

Responses, resistance and transformations

For many PWUDs, life unrolls on a day-to-day basis: “Where am I going to go? I need to work to get by,” says Brenda. This situation hinders them from having a medium- or long-term perspective on how to solve problems or transform structural conflicts such as police violence. However, despite these difficulties, the community is not entirely submissive to the abuse of power by security forces. Its members stand up for themselves. “In Libertadores, whenever there is a raid, people show up, they start recording what’s going on, and when they do, the police stand back,” says Brenda.

The neighbourhood’s attentiveness becomes a protection strategy that reduces police aggression against PWUDs living in the street by creating a temporary network for monitoring and checking police behaviour.

The neighbourhood’s attentiveness becomes a protection strategy that reduces police aggression against PWUDs living in the street by creating a temporary network for monitoring and checking police behaviour. This, as Brenda puts it, forces them to control themselves to avoid being reported to oversight agencies or publicly on social media: “The community gets them on video so they keep themselves from being too aggressive.” Nevertheless, in less crowded places, the situation is different: the support networks may not act in the face of police violence, since they are made up of fellow consumers or neighbours who do not want to be singled out or threatened by the police, or of those who manage the shooting galleries.

Possible changes to reduce violent and discriminatory police conduct

In this landscape, proposals for changes to reduce the violent and discriminatory actions of the police must begin by acknowledging that drug users have been mostly silenced in the country. This means that PWUDs have very little access to platforms to report abuse and even less to political advocacy. Therefore, although by no means are the authors of this article taking over the role of PWUDs, we think we can suggest actions to reduce violent police conduct towards PWUDs and to make progress in the construction of mechanisms to guarantee the enforceability of their rights. Some of the actions are operational changes which, if implemented, would have a day-to-day impact on PWUDs but would not change the adverse structural conditions related to the use of drugs and the wider contextual challenges of poverty. In this sense, we recognize that our proposals have short and medium time frames in mind, which is fundamental to restrain police abuse and weaken the current paradigm. Nevertheless, we are conscious of the need for long-term deep reform of the intersections between security and drugs. We need to structurally question the premise that drugs are dangerous in themselves and put into evidence how efforts to control them have not only failed but also caused a lot of damage.

Which changes can be implemented by the police?

The purpose of the police is “to maintain the necessary conditions for the exercise of public rights and freedoms, and to ensure that the inhabitants of Colombia live in peace.”21olitical Constitution of Colombia: Article 218. However, their own 2019–2022 strategic plan does not include any indicator of how people are treated so as to measure discrimination against specific vulnerable populations such as PWUDs living in the street. Nor is there any measurement of the guarantee of rights and freedoms. The closest to this is an indicator of the improvement in police service, which is measured only by the number of petitions, complaints, claims and suggestions claiming service deficiency. These amount to 2.2% of total submissions.

Therefore, actions to reduce violent and discriminatory police conduct should begin by matching the institution’s goals and indicators of success to its main purpose – in other words, to include in these objectives and measurements the guarantee of fundamental human rights – which must account for a significant share of the final assessment. Likewise, in order to avoid incentives for staging situations or committing procedural fraud with a view to scoring points in success indicators, the percentage of effectiveness of judicial police actions (1.55%) that must be attained during preliminary investigations led by the Prosecutor’s Office should be reduced.

What can other public institutions do?

The Office of the Ombudsperson22The public institution responsible for ensuring the promotion, exercise and dissemination of human rights. Political Constitution of Colombia. Article 282. and municipal legal representatives23Responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, the protection of the public interest, the oversight of the official conduct of those who perform public functions and the administrative control of each municipality. Political Constitution of Colombia. Article 118. should prevent and address police violence faced by PWUDs. To that end, they should conduct training sessions for the police on basic human rights standards for administrative procedures and legal proceedings. Likewise, these entities should be present during police operations involving vulnerable populations, such as PWUDs, to monitor that their rights are guaranteed during the procedures. The Office of the Public Prosecutor24Control body made up of the Office of the Ombudsperson, municipal or district legal representatives and the Attorney General’s Office. Its main function is to protect and promote human rights, protect the public interest and supervise public officials. Political Constitution of Colombia. Article 118. should also create anonymous and accessible channels to file complaints for vulnerable populations and proactively gather testimonies in the areas where PWUDs live and move around. In this way, it will be able to combat underreporting and get to know what really happens in the streets, open disciplinary investigations and measure the magnitude of the risk faced by PWUDs on a daily basis.

Moreover, Congress should push for a reform to the National Code of Security and Citizen Coexistence so as to reduce police officers’ discretionary power, which translates into abuse and discrimination against PWUDs. The need to reform the Police Code is based on the urgency of protecting the fundamental rights to personal autonomy and privacy as they relate to the possession of drugs. In this sense, it is also an opportunity to fight the stigmatization and normalize the use and carrying of psychoactive substances, which are currently considered so dangerous in themselves that their use must be “corrected”. It is paradoxical that there are legal and constitutional protections for personal doses, while there are corrective measures for the use and carry of drugs. Confronted with this scenario, we propose to reform the Police Code to eliminate these tensions. This bill should: (i) remove the general prohibition to carry psychoactive substances in public areas, (ii) clearly specify the factual conditions for imposing a corrective measure related to drug use and possession in public areas, (iii) modify the sanctions imposed for behaviours related to drug use and possession in public areas so that they are proportional to the offences committed and (iv) establish sanctions only for behaviours that truly endanger security and coexistence, instead of considering that the mere use or possession of drugs is inherently dangerous. Such legal reform could help transform the idea of security and bring it into line with the rights of the populations that are usually profiled by the police, such as PWUDs living in the street.

What can civil society do?

Social organizations can make their resources available to PWUDs for activities that involve education, outreach, research, legal support, public claim, harm reduction and mobilization in favour of structural reforms, among others. In practice, it is civil society that engages in direct contact with PWUDs and their realities. Therefore, its contribution to a form of security that may guarantee the rights of people without discrimination, regardless of how that contribution is made, must promote new narratives focused on PWUDs as subjects of rights, doing away with accounts that focus on substances and consumption.

Illustration by Maria Pichel via femiñetas
Illustration by Maria Pichel via femiñetas

Another type of security is possible

To speak of police violence when it intersects with drug use, it is necessary to acknowledge the degree of illegality that permeates this universe. Unlike other environments where there is police abuse – such as protests, where a protected right is involved – PWUDs are on the fringes of crime or prohibitions. This situation is affected by the stigma embedded in illicit substances, which makes users vulnerable to police discrimination – one of the biggest obstacles to harm-reduction strategies – while at the same time making it difficult to implement mechanisms for complaints or social and institutional change. For this reason, some women use drugs as a way to alleviate the pain caused by the context in which they live.

To rethink security in these terms requires widening the spectrum of actors and actions considered to give people a real sense of protection, mitigation or elimination of risks. Harm-reduction strategies in their many forms create relations of trust and accompaniment, along with opportunities to be heard, held and supported, all of which can shelter and protect persons in risky situations due to their problematic use of drugs and/or police abuse. For these reasons, the security that PWUDs find in these networks can be the foundation of another vision of security.

It is unfair to expect the affected populations to be the ones to fully take on the challenge of transforming the idea of security and their relationship with the police since their lives are based on making it through the day. Community resistance, which reduces risks on a daily basis for PWUDs, must be complemented with the institutional transformation of other agencies and organizations that oversee and control the police. Under this scenario, our tripartite proposal shows the ways to progressively undo the violent conduct of the police against those who inhabit and walk the streets while exercising their right to exist. Another conception of security, without violence and discrimination towards PWUDs, is possible.

Endnotes

  • 1
    According to the 2019 National Survey on the Consumption of Psychoactive Substances, Risaralda is the department with the second highest rate of illegal substance use and among the departments with the highest rates of heroin consumption.
  • 2
    A space arranged for sleeping and living in the street.
  • 3
    A place where drugs are sold and used.
  • 4
    Congress of the Republic. Law No. 30 of 1986, National Drug Statute. Article 2.
  • 5
    Law No. 1801 of 2016, National Code of Security and Citizen Coexistence. Articles 33, no. 2; 34, nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4; 38, no. 5, subparagraph b and no. 6, subparagraph a; 39, no. 1; 134, no. 8; 140, nos. 7 and 8.
  • 6
    Such as fines, substance destruction, confiscation or transfers to temporary detention centers.
  • 7
    Congress of the Republic. Law No. 599 of 2000, Criminal Code of Colombia. Articles 375, 376 and 377.
  • 8
    Congress of the Republic. Law No. 30 of 1986, National Drug Statute. Article 2.
  • 9
    Congress of the Republic. Law No. 1801 of 2016, National Code of Security and Citizen Coexistence. Article 164; Congress of the Republic. Law No. 906 of 2004, Code of Criminal Procedure. Article 88.
  • 10
    Congress of the Republic. Law No. 1801 of 2016, National Code of Security and Citizen Coexistence. Article 168; Congress of the Republic. Law No. 906 of 2004, Code of Criminal Procedure. Article 301, no. 1.
  • 11
    Lalinde, Sebastián. Requisas, ¿a discreción? Una tensión entre seguridad e intimidad [Discretionary Searches? Tension Between Security and Privacy]. Bogotá: Editorial Dejusticia, 2015; Calvo Cortés, Verónica et al. Los nunca nadie N.N. [The Never Nobodies N.N.]. Bogotá: Temblores NGO, 2018; Lemaitre, Julieta and Albarracín, Mauricio. “Patrullando la dosis personal: la represión cotidiana y los debates de las políticas públicas sobre el consumo de drogas ilícitas en Colombia” [“Patrolling the Personal Dose: Everyday Repression and Public Policy Debates on Illicit Drug Use in Colombia”]. In Políticas antidroga en Colombia: éxitos, fracasos y extravíos [Anti-Drug Policies in Colombia: Successes, Failures and Mistakes]. Alejandro Gaviria and Daniel Mejía (comps.). Bogotá: Ediciones Uniandes, 2011.
  • 12
    Congress of the Republic. Law No. 599 of 2000, Criminal Code of Colombia. Article 376.
  • 13
    Packages containing several bags of cannabis (10 of 30,000 pesos and 10 of 15,000 pesos).
  • 14
    Police officer, usually a patrolman.
  • 15
    Pereira Arana, Isabel et al. Mujeres, calle y prohibición: cuidado y violencia a los dos lados del Otún [Women, Street and Prohibition: Care and Violence on Both Sides of the Otún]. Bogotá: Editorial Dejusticia, 2021. Page 130.
  • 16
    Pereira Arana, Isabel et al. Mujeres, calle y prohibición: cuidado y violencia a los dos lados del Otún [Women, Street and Prohibition: Care and Violence on Both Sides of the Otún]. Bogotá: Editorial Dejusticia, 2021. Page 130.
  • 17
    Pereira Arana, Isabel et al. Mujeres, calle y prohibición: cuidado y violencia a los dos lados del Otún [Women, Street and Prohibition: Care and Violence on Both Sides of the Otún]. Bogotá: Editorial Dejusticia, 2021. Page 85.
  • 18
    Cara de marrano, “swine face”.
  • 19
    According to the reply from the Pereira Metropolitan Police to an inquiry made by the authors in 2020, in the previous five years there had been fewer than 30 episodes of police violence in Pereira and Dosquebradas.
  • 20
    Lemaitre, Julieta and Albarracín, Mauricio. “Patrullando la dosis personal: la represión cotidiana y los debates de las políticas públicas sobre el consumo de drogas ilícitas en Colombia” [“Patrolling the Personal Dose: Everyday Repression and Public Policy Debates on Illicit Drug Use in Colombia”]. In Políticas antidroga en Colombia: éxitos, fracasos y extravíos [Anti-Drug Policies in Colombia: Successes, Failures and Mistakes]. Alejandro Gaviria and Daniel Mejía (comps.). Bogotá: Ediciones Uniandes, 2011. Page 250.
  • 21
    olitical Constitution of Colombia: Article 218.
  • 22
    The public institution responsible for ensuring the promotion, exercise and dissemination of human rights. Political Constitution of Colombia. Article 282.
  • 23
    Responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, the protection of the public interest, the oversight of the official conduct of those who perform public functions and the administrative control of each municipality. Political Constitution of Colombia. Article 118.
  • 24
    Control body made up of the Office of the Ombudsperson, municipal or district legal representatives and the Attorney General’s Office. Its main function is to protect and promote human rights, protect the public interest and supervise public officials. Political Constitution of Colombia. Article 118.

Contributors

María José León-Marín

Lawyer and scholar from the University of the Andes (Colombia). Especially interested in human rights, transitional justice, gender and the environment. She was an intern in transitional justice and a researcher in drug policy at Dejusticia. She currently works in the Follow-up Chamber of the Colombian Constitutional Court for the SU-020 ruling of 2022. There she works on issues related to the security of former FARC-EP combatants from a broad perspective, including their effective reintegration process, protection measures, prevention mechanisms and institutional design, among other considerations.

leonmarinmj@gmail.com

María Angélica Jiménez-Izquierdo

Graduate in Visual Arts from the Technological University of Pereira (Colombia), with experience at the community level in risk and harm reduction in heroin use, HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis. María has a deep interest in the rights of vulnerable populations, including migrants, drug users and street dwellers, especially in the conditions and experiences of women. She worked as an educator and activist in the Temeride Corporation until 2022. She currently works at AID FOR AIDS International with migrants, contributing to the improvement of their quality of life.

maji1127@gmail.com

Isabel Pereira Arana

Political scientist from the University of the Andes in Colombia (2008) and Master in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva (IHEID) in Switzerland (2015). She is currently the senior coordinator for the drug policy line at Dejusticia, where she has focused on documenting the differentiated impacts of drug policy on women, and the interactions between drug policy reform and other high-impact agendas such as the right to health and transitional justice. In her research and advocacy work, she has participated in national and international spaces for human-rights-based drug policy reform.

Illustration by Maria Pichel via femiñetas

Maria Pichel graduated in sociology, but works in illustration because she places her passion before her comfort. As an involuntary nomad, she allows herself to take in the atmosphere wherever she goes. She walks and rides her bicycle, chats with strangers, shares dinners or wine, and dances till dawn. Drawing connects her with spontaneous gestures and a bit of anarchy. She loves bright colours, honest messages and analogical textures.


femiñetas: feminism in vignettes. Femiñetas is an illustrated and transoceanic collective and media. It comprises some 300 illustrators and writers from different parts of the world who form a story-telling community in the language of comics.

Flor Coll is the coordinator and founder of @feminetas. She is a journalist and Social Communication graduate from Universidad Nacional de Rosario (Argentina) and holds a Master’s in Gender and Communication from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain). After working for more than 15 years as a journalist in Argentinian radio, TV and print media, she currently carries out gender and sexuality campaigns for the NGO Sexus and teaches at the Master’s in Communication and Gender at the Barcelona Open University in Spain (UAB). She co-created Chamana Comunicación, a consultancy firm based in Barcelona where she is the director of communication and capacity building.

 

femiñetas

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