Latin America

Beijing+20 in Latin America

Twenty years after the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, the situation facing Latin American and Caribbean women has improved. This particularly holds true for the normative level. Noteworthy advances have been made here as a result of pressure exerted by feminist and women’s movements.

In terms of implementation, however, significant shortcomings prevail, depending on the country. As a consequence, there is still a long way to go before discrimination and inequality are eliminated. The situation is further compounded by the emergence of new problems and issues that could not have been perceived back in 1995 – at least not to the extent that they exist today – such as trafficking in women, organized crime, and the immense rise in corruption in the region.

Two particularly affected areas are sexual and reproductive rights. Women in Latin America have virtually no rights to make a free decision anywhere. In the majority of countries, abortion is either not permitted at all or only under very restrictive circumstances. Violence against women and girls, even femicides, is very widespread; the requisite laws and resources aimed at protecting women and pursuing criminal prosecution continue to come up short. Progress has been made in most countries in terms of the political representation of women. Only Scandinavia has more women members of parliament. In turn, however, their decision-making powers in the media have barely increased.

Inequality continues to be a major issue in Latin America. Here, women in general, but especially vulnerable groups such as indigenous women, Afro-Latin American women, handicapped women, HIV-positive women, female migrants, etc. largely languish at the bottom end of the scale. They are especially affected by poverty and, overall, have more limited access to education, land, and the health and judicial systems.


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By Manoela Vianna

Brazil: women’s participation in elections

Do Brazil's women have an equal share in politics? Despite the 2014 election of a woman prime minister - Dilma Roussef - Brazil is far from gender equality. An analysis by Marilene de Paula.

By Marilene de Paula

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In April 1998, Sam Dillon, at the time a correspondent for the New York Times, wrote about a series of murders perpetrated against women in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez. Dillon noted how, as early as 1993, Oscar Máynez, a government criminologist, had pointed out that almost all the victims were slender young women with a cinnamon complexion and long hair. Máynez had suggested a serial killer was at work, but the authorities did not want to know.

“Soft” feminism via the mass media

In 1988, five women journalists wanted to go beyond simply producing feminist monthly supplements. They were determined to put the realities of women’s lives onto the front page, and get gender relations taken into account everywhere in the male-dominated country of Mexico.

Good to Know

  • Progress of the World's Women 2015/2016: detailed report by the UN Women on the economical barriers facing women, and strategies of improving the political participation of women on a global scale. more>>
  • Beijing Platform for Action
    Read the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action here
    An overview the Platform's 12 critical areas of concern by the UN Women. more>>
  • Women in Armed Conflicts: in the context of the CSW 59, the GWI co-hosted an event at concering a pressing issue for the Platform - women in armed conflicts. more>>


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