Why ensuring women's rights is essential to the well-being of societies?
Gender equality is an essential human right to maintain the equilibrium of a democratic society and cultivate a relationship of peace, prosperity and collaboration between citizens. This right is guaranteed when women and men enjoy equal opportunities in all sectors of society. By providing women and girls with access to health care, decent jobs, economic automation and participation in political decision-making, we are advancing a humanist vision that benefits societies.
Although progress has been made at global level, the Latin American region continues to face structural discrimination, sexual violence, lack of access to sexual and reproductive care, and criminalization of abortion. It is therefore important to ensure that girls and women have the freedom, information and support they need to make decisions that concern them and act accordingly for their own well-being. By fighting for gender equality, it will be possible to break the cycle of discrimination and violence, guaranteeing children’s development and changing perceptions about gender norms.
The Latin America Context
Although all Latin American countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, gender inequality and violence against women persist. Such violence is particularly prevalent among indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, who suffer from intersectional discrimination. Although the Inter-American Human Rights system includes a powerful regional instrument for combating violence against women, the Convention of Belém do Pará, the rise of conservatism and socio-political instability is amplifying the phenomenon of violence.
According to ECLAC, in 2021, at least 4,473 women were victims of femicide in the 29 countries and territories of the CELAC region. In addition, early and forced marriages and child unions are a reality in Latin America. It’s a complex phenomenon linked to gender inequality, violence, poverty, school dropout, teenage pregnancy and inadequate legal and policy frameworks. In 2019, a UNICEF study shows that 1.1 million adolescent girls aged 15-19 have experienced sexual or other forms of violence, and that 4 out of 10 married girls aged 15-19 will experience violence throughout their lives.
The priorities of RIDHE
- Advocacy for the creation of CELAC-wide policies that promote women’s political participation and leadership.
- Advocacy with national governments for solutions that open up access to resources, employment and services for excluded groups.
- Advocacy for the integration of gender equality measures into national programs.
- Advocacy for the decriminalization of the right to abortion in countries where it is still criminalized.
- Provide training to create livelihoods that guarantee women’s economic empowerment.
- Provide psychosocial support to women victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
- Raise awareness, educate and inform women about contraception and sexual care.