Womankind is working in Peru to empower excluded and marginalised women and ensure that they can access their human rights and gain a voice in directing their own development.
Although the Peruvian constitution provides equality on paper for women and men, women have less access to power and resources, enduring abuse and discrimination in their homes, the workplace and in politics. There are some key areas in which women’s rights are routinely violated.
Attitudes towards women in Peru are shaped by a culture of machismo which is reinforced by the religious conservatism. Appropriate roles for women are stereotypically centred on reproduction and the family. Public roles in production and politics are reserved for men, and as such it is extremely difficult for women to participate in local, regional and national-level decision-making bodies.
Violence against women
Despite the commitments of the Peruvian government to prevent and eliminate violence against women, prevalence remains very high. Research by WHO (2005) found 69% of rural women and 51% of urban women in Peru have suffered physical or sexual violence. Although Peru has shown steady economic growth in recent years, inequality and exclusion persist, aggravating violence as well as gender, class and ethnic discrimination.
Other challenges to women’s rights
Many Peruvian women suffered sexual violence during the internal conflict which lasted 20 years. In addition, the Peruvian government forcibly sterilised over 2,000 women in the 1990s but have yet to fully implement a 2003 agreement ensuring truth, justice and reparation for the victims. Women, particularly indigenous women and women on low incomes living in rural areas, continue to face obstacles in accessing their sexual and reproductive rights. Indigenous rural women face even more challenges, including illiteracy, lack of culturally appropriate health services, little access to decision-making spaces, inequity and lack of opportunities to participate in political and economic processes, as well as in access to land and its tenure.
Womankind in Peru
Womankind has worked with Peruvian partners for over 12 years. Our work with local partners has had a life-changing impact on women living in different areas of the country.
We have successfully increased women’s participation in politics and have supported local governments to develop Regional Equal Opportunities Plans.
Our work with survivors of armed conflict has increased public awareness on issues of reparation and use of women as weapons of war, and offered access to justice to many women who did not have the confidence and support to denounce their ordeal.
Womankind is currently working with three partners in Peru (DEMUS, FEPROMU and Movimiento El Pozo) on our strategic aim of reducing violence against women, and we will continue delivering our existing projects with them by:
- building the capacity of women leaders on legal frameworks, public policies, and communication strategies to understand and monitor legislation on violence against women and the National Plan on Reparation for women survivors of conflict
- carrying out national and international advocacy in order to change laws and policies that discriminate against women
- working with girls and boys on sexual and reproductive health frameworks that help them to make informed decisions
Our achievements in Peru
- in 2011, Womankind’s partner DEMUS was able to achieve the incorporation in the National Register of Reparations of new criteria to qualify cases of sexual violence in the armed conflict (including criteria such as fondling, forced nudity, mental harassment, etc), therefore allowing women victims of all forms of sexual violence to register and ask for compensation from the government
- Womankind’s partner Fepromu, lobbied to put in place a Regional Policy on HIV and AIDs for the promotion of the sexual and reproductive rights of adolescents in the Ica region
- The New National Plan on Violence against Women 2009– 2015 was approved and includes recommendations by our partner DEMUS on how to strengthen security and social control in public policies to prevent violence. DEMUS is currently working together with the Ministry of Health and Justice to improve policies for the implementation of the Plan.
How you can help
- £12 could train a police person in issues of sexual exploitation, violence and women’s rights, to ensure that they better support trafficked women and women in prostitution
- £18 could train a journalist enabling them to increase awareness of HIV and AIDS prevention through the radio, TV and print media
- £280 could provide intensive counselling, training and support for a woman survivor of sexual violence in Manta, helping them to seek justice