Traditionally, women in Peru have been discriminated against for years and they have fewer opportunities to develop themselves. They are attributed specific roles related to housekeeping and taking care of the family. The men’s role is to participate in public life, to work and to earn money in order to take care of their wife and children. This vision causes differences in the way men and women are educated and socialized.
Thanks to protective laws for women (women have the right to work, study and form organizations) the situation has improved the last couple of years. Nevertheless, discrimination and violence against women is still a major problem. All around the country, women still do not have the same rights as men and are not treated equally, both in the public and the private atmosphere. This unequal treatment is rooted in Peruvian culture and the situation will not improve only by voting new laws.
Discrimination against and the exclusion of women has many consequences:
– there is domestic violence against women and a lack of checkpoints and support organisations that defend women’s rights;
– there are teen pregnancies: the lack of information and contraception causes girls to become mothers at a very young age already. This hinders their personal development and often leads to poverty for themselves and their children;
– many youngsters as well as adult women do not use safe contraception because their partners do not allow it;
– women have little to no opportunities to have a say, in private as well as in public;
– women have little to no opportunities for education or technical training and there is a lack of opportunities for personal development;
– women are refused for certain jobs.
Some national figures:
– Every 8 hours, a woman dies as a result of her pregnancy or because of complications during labour, mainly women from rural areas and from the poorest regions of the country. Peru has the second highest maternal mortality rate (i.e. related to pregnancies or childbirth) in South-America.
– 13% of adolescent girls are pregnant or are teen mums already. In certain areas, such as the jungle and rural areas, this number can even amount to 25%.
– 4 in 10 women are the victim of physical violence by their partners or ex-partners.
– Approximately 12 women are killed every month by their partners or ex-partners.
– For every 3 illiterate men, there are 10 illiterate women.
– Women earn 30% less than men for the same job.
– There are 130 members of parliament, 28 of them are women.
– There are 186 provincial mayors, 9 of them are women.
Gender inequality in Curahuasi:
– 63% of women is illiterate, compared to 37% of men.
– More than 80% of women indicate that they do not work and devote all their time to housekeeping. However, they have a lot of tasks. Apart from housekeeping, women are active in small-scale cattle breeding, not only for their own consumption but also for sale. Moreover, they devote part of their time to making artisanal products for sale. The revenues go directly to their families. Women are not paid for these activities. Yet they are a considerable contribution to the local economy and to the means of sustaining life.
The lack of recognition for this contribution has repercussions on women’s collective self-confidence. They think that they do not contribute anything and that they depend entirely on their partner. That state of mind causes women to just accept domestic violence without defending their rights.