Violence, sexist attitudes, and lack of power and resources are all common problems for women in Peru. Women continue to be marginalised in the country, with traditional attitudes stopping their progress in all aspects of life, from the home to politics. There’s a lack of political will to stop widespread violence against women too.
Many Peruvian women experienced sexual violence during an internal conflict from 1980 to 2000. The government sterilised more than 300,000 women during those 20 years, mostly rural indigenous women. Over 2,000 of them have since come forward to say that their sterilisation was forced. The government has failed to put a 2003 agreement to secure justice for these women into practice.
Today, many younger women work in agriculture and face new challenges, including dangerous conditions and daily sexual harassment.
- Just under a third of women in Peru have experienced physical violence from a husband or partner (UN Women 2011-12).
- The proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments declined from 28 to 22 per cent between 2010 and 2014 (World Bank Data).
- The Peruvian courts only processed one per cent of rape allegations in 2013.
- Only 35 per cent of full-time workers are women (International Finance Corporation and The World Bank 2010)
Supporting women survivors of violence
Violence against women was a common war tactic during Peru’s 1980-2000 internal conflict.
With our partner DEMUS, we are:
- Increasing public awareness of the sexual violence and forced sterilisations during the conflict
- Providing legal support and improving access to justice for women survivors of violence
- Offering psychological support, so women can safely and confidently testify in court
- Lobbying to demand justice for women who were forcefully sterilised
- Influencing regional policies to tackle violence against women through meetings with government officials and public campaigns.
“Women like me who were raped and abused by the military were an embarrassment. When we found the courage to come forward and report the abuses, authorities told us that we were a shame to the community. DEMUS taught us our rights and accompanied us to make official complaints, and have supported us through the process.” Participant
DEMUS (Institute for the Defence of Women’s Rights)
DEMUS is a women’s rights organisation in Peru that began as a provider of legal support for women and over ...
Reducing violence against women in agriculture
Agricultural export is a tough industry in Peru. Women make up 65 per cent of its workers, mostly those aged 21 to 33. They face long working hours, sexual harassment and exposure to dangerous chemicals, which puts their health at risk.
Pregnant women are often dismissed, and are at increased risk of domestic violence. Many don’t know their basic rights and have limited organisational and leadership skills.
We are working with our local partner FEPROMU on:
- Educating women about their rights, and developing their leadership skills
- Training women to monitor how well gender laws are put into practice
- Establishing a Centre for Conciliation in the Ica region with pro bono lawyers to support women
- Creating the Women’s Association of Agro-industry, helping women to collectively claim their rights. Some of their basic demands have already been met, such as for toilets, transportation, and uncontaminated water.
- Organising regional workshops and events for women in the industry to discuss proposals for a Regional Plan for Gender Equality.
“I am grateful for the training I have received from FEPROMU, which I put into practice in my own life: I value my own contribution as a woman. I take decisions together with my husband, I now am able to communicate better with my family and I help in the education of my children and treat them equally regardless of their gender.”Celestina
FEPROMU (Ica Women’s Federation)
FEPROMU carry out diverse work on women’s rights that range from skills and employment rights, tackling violence against women, and ...
Our impact in Peru
Thanks to our partnership with women’s organisations in Peru:
- More than 2,000 women have demanded justice and reparation in court for their forced sterilisation.
- Over 628,000 people have received messages about sexual violence and forced sterilisations.
- Two female community networks in Huancavelica, the poorest region of Peru, have been set up to monitor government policies and programmes to tackle violence against women.
- 268 people took part in workshops to discuss proposals for a Regional Plan for Gender Equality.
- The Peruvian government accepted the state’s responsibility for violence against women during the internal conflict, meaning victims could seek justice.
- A regional by-law on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and HIV for children and adolescents was introduced in June 2009.
Find out more about our impact
Help us do more
£25 can pay for travel for one female survivor of violence to attend a psychological and legal support session so she can get the help she needs.
£221 can pay for a lawyer to work on women survivors’ case work for a month.
£943 can pay for four days of professional psychological and legal support for a woman survivor of violence.