Globe, Latin America, United Kingdom

Difficult times for women in Latin America

Feminicidal brutality and inequality in economic income are two critical aspects that make it difficult for women in this continent to survive and to fight for their rights, ignored and violated. 


Sergio Ferrari


In 2022, every two hours a Latin American woman was murdered – approximately 4,050 women, all victims of femicide as an extreme expression of inequality, discrimination and many other forms of violence against women and girls. This is the finding of a Bulletin of the Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean, sponsored by ECLAC (Economic Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean).

The Observatory analysed data collected in 26 countries of the continent, which constitutes the most updated and recent information in the region on this issue.

In 2022, more than 70% of femicide victims were aged between 15 and 44; 4% were under 15, and 8% were over 60.

Honduras reported the highest number of such crimes, with six per 100,000 women. It was followed by the Dominican Republic, with 2.9, and El Salvador and Uruguay, with 1.6 each. The countries with less than one victim per 100,000 women were Puerto Rico, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Chile. Cuba had the lowest continental rate: 0.3. In comparison, Western European countries had rates between 0.4 – 0.8 in 2021.

These variations are small and do not reflect sustained dynamics of increase or decrease, so it is not possible to determine trends. However, the study emphasises, “it can be affirmed that femicide persists in the region, despite greater public awareness, legislative advances, progress in the measurement of cases and the state response.”

Specialised national surveys in ten countries of the continent show that between 42% and 79% of women (around 2 out of every 3) have been victims of gender-based violence. In addition, 88 million women aged over 15 experience “physical and or sexual violence perpetrated by someone who was, or is, their partner, which entails the risk of lethal violence”. At the same time, “early and forced child marriages and unions are a harmful practice and a manifestation of gender violence that persists and is widespread in the region, affecting 1 in 5 girls”.

The ECLAC study concludes that Latin American and Caribbean states must increase budget resources and invest in strengthening policies against gender-based violence with new strategies to respond to the different manifestations of violence.

Poorly paid

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), despite some progress, “Gender pay gaps persist across industries and occupations”.

These differences are not mainly due to different levels of education and, in general, do not narrow but increase with age. These are the main conclusions of its study Equal pay for work of equal value: where do we stand in 2023, published at the end of September. The proportion of women in managerial and middle management positions is less than 35 per cent in half of the world’s countries.

“Men still earned more than women in most countries, in nearly all industries, due to various factors including persisting gender segregation in employment by occupation, disruptions to the working lives of women due to motherhood, uneven sharing of family and care responsibilities, and unfair pay practices”.

According to the United Nations (UN), on all continents “women are paid less than men, with the gender pay gap estimated at around 20 per cent globally.” Furthermore, “Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls continue to be held back owing to the persistence of historical and structural unequal power relations between women and men, poverty and inequalities and disadvantages in access to resources and opportunities that limit women’s and girls’ capabilities. Progress on narrowing that gap has been slow. While equal pay for men and women has been widely endorsed, applying it in practice has been difficult”. PL

(Translated by Rene Phelvin) – Photos: Pixabay

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