Maria Liset Corleto was born and raised in El Salvador. First coming to the United States around 30 years ago through a tourist visa. Recently, Maria came back to the United States to become a resident in order to provide for her family. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
Growing up in El Salvador, she was raised by a loving, polite, and respectful family. Whom she thanked for teaching her many values. Clearly being reflected through her delightful and kind character. A practicing Catholic, Maria cherishes the education she had recieved in her youth. Attributing it to learning and knowing about God. Showing her to love all friends, family, and neighbors. Some of her favorite traditional dishes to cook from El Salvaodor are pupusas, chicken soup, beef soup, and dulce infused cuisine.
In 2012, Maria came to the United States to permanently work and become a resident. The primary reason in why she chose to work in the United States, instead of El Salvador was for the greater oppurtunities with providing for her family.
When asked how the decision arise to come to the United States, Maria responded
“My decision… It was thinking of my children so that they may have a better future.”
Throughout it’s history, El Salvador has been no stranger to gender inequality. Over recent decades, El Salvador has made progress for equality. For example, a bill titled the “Law of Equality, Fairness, and the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women” was passed in 2011. Creating regulations that would improve protecting women’s rights in the country’s judicial framework. Unfortunately, women in El Salvador still presently face different forms of gender inequality. In 2020, it was reported that around 29% of women in El Salvador are less likely to have equal oppurtunites compared to men.
Maria states that life as a woman in the United States is very different compared to El Salvador. “They always have to depend on their husband or someone to help them”. Also mentioning that she had “started to find sources of work, and it is more difficult to find work in El Salvador than here in the United States.”
In “Gender Status and Feeling”, author Arlie Hochschild describes the situation best by saying “Working women are to working men as junior clerks are to permanent secreatires. Between executive and secretary, doctor and nurse, psychiatrist and social worker, dentist and dental assistant, a power difference is reflected as a gender difference”. Not only can this be said for women in El Salvador, but for different women all across the world.
Having to make the decision to travel thousands of miles and be away from the life you’ve always known isn’t easy. The most difficult aspect of moving to the United States for Maria was leaving behind her home, family, friends, and way of life.
Quoting that for her, the transitional process has been “difficult. because to come from a place where I have everything, and to go to another place where there is no family. My family is very little. And that does affect me because I am very, very affectionate, very loving, and my children who I have left in El Salvador is something that has weighed on me a lot.”
Not only is the phsyical and mental process of creating a new life somewhere different is difficult, but the way in which domestic citizens treat individuals can completely alter their transitional process. People may unintentionally say harmful and or racist things due to their views on immigration, often evealing the true depths of their opinions. They may defend their actions by thinking “the person who named racism is really racist, they’re surprised at the racist impact of laws, everyday racism around them isn’t really racist, and insist that they’re a good person” (Kim 1).
Immigration into the United States continues to be a difficult process. The journey for immigrants has only become increasingly problematic.
Maries describes that “It wasn’t easier, the first few times (immigrating). Now, it’s very difficult and dangerous.”
High levels of death, phyiscal violence and sexual assault, are prevalent within South American migration. Linked by the hazards carried by cartels bringing immigrants, and the newly introduced policies performed by the Trump Administration. Unfortunately, these dangers do not stop at the border.
Many undocumented immigrants in fear of losing their job, getting in trouble from the law, and other factors prevent them from reporting crimes caused by documented citizens. The National Network to End Domestic Violence informs that “78% of advocates reported that immigrant survivors expressed concerns about contacting the police”.
The transitional experience for Maria has been difficult, by facing discrimination and adversities. In the end, Maria has transformed in a major and positive way. With the cost of living in the United States possessing a daunting price, she has gained more than certainly than lost.
“I am an independent person, I am a person who has learned to value and know true friendships. To the people.. And to know the true friendships of people. That there are people that we believe are good, and they are not. So being here has allowed me to see and know the good and the bad.”
Being born in the United States is easy, The hard part is settling here and working to achieve the goals you set out. Many immigrants such as Maria, prove that the ambition for achievement here is possible. Even with the many common roadblocks. Growth and oppurtunity is learned and obtained, but not always possible. Maria has shown that evolvement and independency for immigratted women can be not an imaginable dream, but a real one.
“A Salvadoran Law to Achieve Equality Between Men and Women”, UN Women, 2 December, 2009, https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2011/12/a-salvadoran-law-to-achieve-equality-between-men-and-women
Pasquali, Marina, “Gender gap index in El Salvador from 2015 to 2020”, Statistica, 9 March, 2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/802912/el-salvador-gender-gap-index/
Hochschild, Arlie, “Gender Status and Feelings”, 2012, University of California Press
Kim, Sandra, “Here’s Why White Allies Can Get So Overwhelmed and Confused About What To Do Next About Racism”, Sandrakim.com, https://www.sandrakim.com/heres-why-white-allies-dont-know-what-to-do-next?mc_cid=e6a1b89a30&mc_eid=d98fd8e36f
“Immigration Policy”, National Network to End Domestic Violence, 2017, https://nnedv.org/content/immigration-policy/