POTENT Issue #2 - The Women's Issue


By Graciano Petersen

If you were

wondering, it’s

mostly equal;

there are about

just as many

women as there

are men in the

world. Most

countries lean

to one side or

the other, but

in general,

the world

has achieved

a balance.

However, while

that number may be in balance,

precious few others level out in

the statistics that compare female

life to male life on the planet.

Throughout the world, women

continue to fight for equal rights

and treatment. This struggle

varies in complexity from country

to country and from culture to

culture, but, on the whole, there is

with one unifying fact: women do

not have equal value on the planet

when compared to men.

Several entities, including

the National Organization

for Women, MADRE and

the Global Fund for Women,

have taken on the mission of

advancing the position of women

internationally. The World

Economic Forum, an international

nonprofit dedicated to improving

the state of the world, releases a

yearly report entitled The Global

Gender Gap Report. This report

includes the Global Gender Gap

Index, which “seeks to measure

one important aspect of gender

equality: the relative gaps

between women and men across

four key areas: health, education,

economy and politics.” This report

has been coming out since 2006.

The latest report released October

24, 2014 lists Nicaragua as the top

ranking country not only in the

Caribbean and Latin America, but

outside of Europe period. With

a sixth place ranking, Nicaragua

ranks better than the Netherlands

(14), France (16), the United States

(20) and its nearest Caribbean

neighbor, Cuba (30). This ranking

is due to the improvements

that Nicaragua has made in the

economic participation gap and

by also getting more women into

high-level government positions.

Overall, Nicaragua has seen the

greatest improvement across the

four key areas than any other

country on the index since 2006.

In spite of this superior ranking,

Nicaragua still has some issues

with violence against women

and the small country saw a rise

in femicides, murder of women,

in 2014. The murder rate among

women in the Caribbean and

Latin America as a whole has

become so out of proportion to the

rate at which men are murdered

in the same locales that many

countries have taken to adopting

laws specifically against femicide.

Although, a law passed in 2012

in Nicaragua (Law 779) aimed at

curbing domestic violence did not

keep the femicide number from

spiking this past year, it provides

an understanding for why

Nicaragua has been recognized

for its approach to women’s rights.

Only a few other countries in

the Caribbean, the Dominican

Republic and Costa Rica to be

precise, have adopted laws

condemning crimes against

women in an effort to highlight

what is becoming gendercide (the

systematic killing of a specific

gender) in the region. To further

this effort and to get other

countries of the region to buy into

the issue, feminist activists are

holding public demonstrations,

providing educational programs

and organizing in neighborhoods

and communities.

While the issue of women’s

rights is far from a new struggle,

its awareness in the region is still

growing and gathering support.

One stronghold for awareness

has been the Latin American

and Caribbean Feminist

Meeting. This meeting takes

place every three years in a new

city in the region to promote

equality for women. The most

recent meeting was held in

Lima in November 2014 and

was attended by a large crosssection

of women including

indigenous women, abortion

rights activists, lesbians, sex

workers, transgendered and

anti-femicide organizers.


Similar magazines