March 8 was International Women’s Day. This year, women in 54 countries around the world held strikes and marched for gender equality, for women’s rights, and to raise awareness about violence against women. In recent years, women’s marches in Latin America against gender-based violence have spread across the region. The movement called “Ni una Menos” (not one fewer) started in 2015 in Argentina and has now spread to Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay.
These marches have increased public awareness of the all-too common (and accepted) reality of violence against women. The situation is particularly dire in Latin America. According Luiza Carvalho from UN Women, 14 of the 25 countries with higher gender-based violence are in Latin America. Honduras is by far the most violent country with 531 homicides per 100,000 women. But women not only suffer physical violence, they are also victims of discrimination and symbolic violence. Women in the region earn 25.5% less than their males counterparts, and for every 100 men living in poverty, there are 118 women. While there have been advances in the political participation and representation of women across the region, legislatures are still overwhelmingly male-dominated, with an average of just 28.7% of women in congress across Latin America. As our cartoon shows, achieving meaningful equality remains blocked by a knot of challenges, legal, political and cultural.
Cartoon credit: Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times, UAE