Things That Matter

A Restaurant In Peru Has Been Fined $62,000 For What Many Say Is Blatant Sexism

A famed restaurant in Lima, Peru received a $62,000 fine for what authorities felt was its sexist menu. The upscale seaside La Rosa Nautica had an unusual practice of giving one menu to men and a different one to women. La Rosa Nautica is an international tourist attraction and favorite of the country’s upper class. Featured in guidebooks and on major lists of the best restaurants, it will now be forced to change its practice. 

The owners never believed it was sexist in the first place (because double standards are the beacon of equality), but the courts disagreed. 

Two different menus. Two different genders. 

La Rosa Nautica servers would hand women patrons a gold menu that listed all of the items available to order except one detail is omitted: the price. Men are given identical blue menus with the price included. The idea being — you guessed it — men will always pay for dinner, women will not. Perhaps the owners at La Rosa Nautica don’t believe nonbinary people eat. 

During the legal proceedings, the owners defended the practice as ensuring that women “enjoy a romantic evening” without fretting over the cost of their meals — in 2019. 

The La Rosa Nautica owners denied that their menus were discriminatory and that menus without prices, “extoll the position of women, considering it a pleasure for them to enjoy a romantic evening with their partner, without taking into account the cost of the services.”

La Rosa Nautica fined $62,000 and forced to change their sexist menu practice.

Nevertheless, the National Institute for the Defense of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property found the practice sexist in a 3 to 2 ruling. Now the restaurant must give people of all genders the same menu. 

“These small things may seem harmless,” Liliana Cerrón, an official with the agency that issued the fine, told the Associated Press. “But at the end of the day they are the basis of a chauvinistic construct reinforcing differences between men and women.”

On top of the $62,000 fine, the restaurant will have to offer a single menu, train staff, and display a public sign that states, “it is prohibited to discriminate against consumers on the grounds of origin, race, sex, language, religion, opinion, economic condition, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or other grounds.”

This isn’t the first case of a sexist menu. 

La Rosa Nautica isn’t the first restaurant to offer different menus to men and women or come under fire for it. In the 1980s, the L’Orangerie, a renowned restaurant in Los Angeles, was sued for sex discrimination by customers who did not like that servers gave women a white menu without prices and a green menu to men that included them. 

According to DW, some upscale German restaurants have “ladies menus” available upon request. 

“Dresden’s Moritz is one of the country’s few restaurants where female diners with a male accompaniment receive a separate women’s menu without being asked. Restaurant manager Loretta Meister told the German newspaper that although the menu never stirred any problems, ‘it’s a bit old fashioned.'” 

There’s an important reason men paying for dinner is sexist. 

How individuals choose to split their bills is nobody’s business, but when society does not give people a choice about who pays for what is when we get into trouble. For centuries men have been conditioned to be the “providers” and society was constructed to follow that belief. This is the justification for paying women less  — the implication being there should be a man at home paying for the rest. Moreover, when a man pays for a woman’s dinner there is the misguided notion that he is owed something in return. 

A 1985 study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly found that “rape was rated as more justifiable when the man paid all the dating expenses rather than splitting the costs with the woman.” A more recent study from 2010 found that men were more likely to expect sex if they paid for an expensive date. 

Nevertheless, a 2014 study found that in 77 percent of heterosexual relationships men had paid the bill on the first date. 

“As social roles start to change, people often embrace the changes that make their lives easier, but resist the changes that make their lives more difficult,” David Frederick, a professor of psychology at Chapman University, told The Huffington Post. “Who pays for dates … is one arena where women may be resisting gender changes more than men.” 

While it is not inherently sexist for a man to pay for a date, it is important to be mindful of the reasons why he might feel compelled to do so. At La Rosa Nautica patrons didn’t have a choice — and that’s not good for men or women. 

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Peru’s President Survives Impeachment Over Handling Of Coronavirus But What Happens Next?

Things That Matter

Peru’s President Survives Impeachment Over Handling Of Coronavirus But What Happens Next?

Chris Bouroncle / Getty Images

Earlier this month, Peru’s Congress moved to initiate impeachment proceedings against the country’s president over his alleged involvement with a singer involved in a fraud case. However, Peru’s struggle to contain the Coroanvirus outbreak also became a focal point of the impeachment proceedings.

Although, President Martín Vizcarra survived the impeachment vote this week, his country is still spiraling out of control in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic. Peru now has one of the world’s highest mortality rates, made worse by political strife and Peruvians are wondering where the country goes next amid all the turmoil.

Peru’s President survived his impeachment trial but he still faces serious hurdles in the road ahead.

What started out as an alleged fraud and corruption case, devolved into a sort of referendum on Vizcarra’s handling of the country’s failed Coronavirus response. The Coronavirus tragedy has fueled political insurrection. On Sept. 18, an opportunistic legislature tried to oust the president, who has been dogged by accusations of misusing public funds and then covering up the scandal.

However, the revolt fell flat. Just 32 lawmakers voted to remove Vizcarra, glaringly short of the 87-vote impeachment threshold, which is a good thing. Regime change on top of a public health hecatomb might have pushed the afflicted nation that much closer to collapse.

The decision came after long hours of debate in which legislators blasted Vizcarra but also questioned whether a rushed impeachment process would only create more turmoil in the middle of a health and economic crisis.

“It’s not the moment to proceed with an impeachment which would add even more problems to the tragedy we are living,” lawmaker Francisco Sagasti said.

The original impeachment case stemmed from his alleged involvement with a singer who faced serious charges of fraud.

President Vizcarra faced the challenge to his leadership after the Congress approved a motion to start impeachment proceedings against him over leaked audio tapes and alleged ties to a singer involved in a fraud case.

Lawmakers in Peru’s Congress, a mosaic of parties from the left and right with no overall majority, heard recordings of two private conversations between Vizcarra and government officials about meetings with Richard Cisneros, a little-known singer.

Vizcarra told reporters that the new challenge represented “a plot to destabilise the government.” “I am not going to resign,” he said. “I have a commitment to Peru and I will fulfill it until the last day of my mandate.”

Presidential elections are due to be held next year and Vizcarra has already said he will not run again.

But given Peru’s failed Covid-19 response, the president also faces serious doubts in his abilities to bring the country back from the brink.

Latin America has been devastated by the pandemic and it’s only been exacerbated by the total obliteration of growing wealth across the region – as millions are left out of work. The pandemic has largely undone decades of hard work that helped pull millions of Latin Americans out of poverty.

And Peru once the showpiece of Latin American economies — growing at a pacesetting 6.1% a year between 2002 and 2013 and lifting 6.4 million out of poverty — the country saw gross domestic product fall 30% in the second quarter, and is likely to finish the year aound 17% poorer before rebounding next year, according to Bloomberg Economics. Despite generous aid to the poor and strict social distancing rules that drew international praise, the Andean country has been burdened by the pandemic with one of the world’s highest mortality rates.

The possibility of a president being impeached amid the pandemic, had many in the U.S. wondering if we could do the same.

In the U.S., Donald Trump has left much of the country to fend for itself as the pandemic ravages state after state. There has been little in the way of a national plan for how to overcome the outbreak. In fact, many lies about the virus, treatment, and contagion have come directly from the president himself.

He’s even instructed the CDC to stop sharing pandemic-related information with the public, and instead to send all data directly to the White House.

Donald Trump and his administration have sowed division and false information that has resulted in the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans and months of on and off again quarantine orders that seem to have no end in sight. With policies like this, it’s no surprise that some are seriously considering a second impeachment trial.

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Peru’s Indigenous Are Turning To Ancestral Medicines To Fight The Coronavirus

Culture

Peru’s Indigenous Are Turning To Ancestral Medicines To Fight The Coronavirus

Joao Laet / Getty Images

With news headlines like “How Covid-19 could destroy indigenous communities”, it’s hard to understate the affect that the Coronavirus has had on Indigenous communities across the world.

Even before the pandemic hit, native populations were already at increased risk of health complications, poor access to medical care, lack of proper education, and even premature death. The pandemic has only exacerbated these issues as government programs and NGOs who delivered aid to far flung communities have grind to a halt.

However, many communities have started taking the matter into their own hands by creating their own impromptu healthcare systems based on ancestral techniques and others have barricaded off their villages from the outside world in an effort to stem the flow of the virus.

In Peru, many Indigenous communities are turning to centuries-old medicines to fight back against the Coronavirus.

The Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on Peru – the country with the world’s highest per capita Covid-19 mortality rate. At particular risk is the nation’s large Indigenous community, who often lack proper access to education efforts and medical care. This has forced many Indigenous groups to find their own remedies.

In the Ucayali region, government rapid response teams deployed to a handful of Indigenous communities have found infection rates as high as 80% through antibody testing. Food and medicine donations have reached only a fraction of the population. Many say the only state presence they have seen is from a group responsible for collecting bodies of the dead.

At least one community, the Indigenous Shipibo from Peru’s Amazon region, have decided to rely on the wisdom of their ancestors. With hospitals far away, doctors stretch too thin and a lack of beds, many have accepted the alternative medicine.

In a report by the Associated Press, one villager, Mery Fasabi, speaks about gathering herbs, steeping them in boiling water and instructing her loved ones to breathe in the vapors. She also makes syrups of onion and ginger to help clear congested airways.

“We had knowledge about these plants, but we didn’t know if they’d really help treat COVID,” the teacher told the AP. “With the pandemic we are discovering new things.”

One of the plants the Shipibo are using is known locally as ‘matico.’ The plant has green leaves and brightly colored flowers. And although Fasabi admits that these ancestral remedies are by no means a cure, the holistic approach is proving successful. She says that “We are giving tranquility to our patients,” through words of encouragement and physical touch.

Even before the Coronavirus, Indigenous communities were at a greater risk for infectious diseases.

Indigenous peoples around the globe tend to be at higher risk from emerging infectious diseases compared to other populations. During the H1N1 pandemic in Canada in 2009, for example, aboriginal Canadians made up 16% of admissions to hospital, despite making up 3.4% of the population.

Covid-19 is no exception. In the US, one in every 2,300 indigenous Americans has died, compared to one in 3,600 white Americans.

Indigenous groups are particularly vulnerable to dying from Covid-19 because they often live days away from professional medical help. As of July 28, the disease had killed 1,108 indigenous people and there had been 27,517 recorded cases, with the majority in Brazil, according to data published by Red Eclesial Panamazonia (Repam).

Some communities are turning inward to survive COVID-19, barricading villages and growing their own food.

Despite the immense threat they face, Indigenous communities are fighting back.

“I am amazed to see the ways that indigenous peoples are stepping up to provide support where governments have not,” Tauli-Corpuz, a teacher at Mexico’s UNAM, told The Conversation. “They are providing PPE and sanitation, making their own masks, and ensuring that information on Covid-19 is available in local languages, and are distributing food and other necessities.”

They are also choosing to isolate. In Ecuador’s Siekopai nation, about 45 Indigenous elders, adults and children traveled deep into the forest to their ancestral heartland of Lagartococha to escape exposure to the Coronavirus, says the nation’s president Justino Piaguaje.

Despite their best efforts, many experts are extremely concerned for the survival of many Indigenous communities.

Credit: Ginebra Peña / Amazonian Alliance

They are already facing the ‘tipping point’ of ecological collapse due to increased threats of deforestation, fires, industrial extraction, agribusiness expansion and climate change,” Amazon Watch executive director Leila Salazar-Lopez told UNESCO of Amazonian Indigenous groups.

“Now, the pandemic has created one more crisis, and as each day passes, the risk of ethnocide becomes more real.”

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