This March 8, on the occasion of International Women's Day, the UN established the theme “Gender equality today, for a sustainable tomorrow”. In order to “move towards achieving sustainable development, responding to the climate crisis we face, managing and reducing disaster risk and strengthening the resilience of all women, leaving no one behind”.
However, this 2022 for women began facing serious inequalities.
According to the international organization, gender equality and peace building go hand in hand. And that, gender equality indices is the best predictor of a country's level of fragility.
In the last year, all types of violence against women and girls intensified, especially in the home, according to the UN. Sexual harassment and violence against women continues to occur in the street, in public spaces and in social networks. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), an average of at least 12 women die every day because they are women. They also add that 1 in 3 women suffered physical and/or sexual violence in an intimate relationship during their lifetime.
At the same time, the pandemic had a strong impact on the employment situation of women: it reduced their participation in the region's labor market. According to ILO data, in 2021 more than 13 million women will be unemployed in Latin America and the Caribbean. This is a setback of 18 years in the progress achieved by women, according to ECLAC data for 2021.
At the end of 2020, around 118 million Latin American women were living in poverty, 23 million more than in 2019, according to ECLAC. This means that almost a third of women in the region depend on others for their subsistence, which according to the UN makes them economically vulnerable and dependent on income earners, who are generally men.
The figures also state that, among the poorest households, single-parent households are over-represented and tend to be women who were teenage mothers, with limited access to education and training and generally with precarious and informal jobs.
The ILO report also established that rural women live situations of extreme labor precariousness and isolation. In 2019, 85.7% of workers employed in the agricultural sector were informal, while in the non-agricultural sector the informality rate was 65.8%. As for women, the proportion of informality is higher than that of men, highlighting that in the agricultural sector the rate has reached 91.6%.
In the region's households, women still spend more than three times as much time on unpaid domestic and care work as men. According to the UN, in the case of women with lower incomes, the number is higher.
Latin America and the Caribbean remains the most dangerous region in the world for women human rights and environmental defenders, the UN said. These women, many of them indigenous, face enormous risks to defend something that we need and that benefits us all, it added.
The UN also recognized that women's participation in politics has improved somewhat, but that exclusion has not ended.