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Peru’s women have advanced, but society is still ‘machista’

Today millions of women will receive various tributes and honors. There is much to celebrate but is Peru on its way to fairness and mutual respect, something its women have longed for through ages?

Surveys conducted by two universities in relation to today’s International Women’s Day reveal that in general Peruvian women have advanced in reaching this goal, but its society is still perceived as “machista”. Peruvian men still wear the breeches.

According to the University of Lima, 82.7% in Lima’s and Callao’s women believe that discrimination against them is still an omnipresent problem. However, 77.3% also recognize that there is more equal opportunity than ever before.

Gina Yánez, spokeswoman for the Manuela Ramos Movement, confirms that indeed there are important improvements, but they are only of normative nature because Peruvian society still lacks a change of mentality.

The Manuela Ramos Movement is a not-for-profit civil association, founded in Peru in 1978, with the aim of promoting women’s rights. Its headquarters are located in Lima (Peru) and it has two offices in the districts of Villa El Salvador and San Juan de Miraflores.

The objectives of the Manuela Ramos Movement include promoting women’s rights, taking steps to prevent all forms of discrimination against women, and fostering democratic values and respect for diversity. It also contributes to capacity building for women, on both an individual and a collective basis, to enable them to exercise their rights.

The organization carries out public awareness campaigns on the rights of women, provides victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse with legal advice, trains women in designing economic projects suited to their lifestyles, organizes courses to encourage saving and the creation of microenterprise networks, fosters female political leadership within political parties, observes elections, supports quota laws for female participation in government agencies, publishes educational materials about the rights of women and gender-based violence, produces gender-awareness radio and television programs, and maintains a website to serve as a connection point for centers that collect gender-related statistics.

The issues of violence against women and reproductive health remain grave concerns in Peru, highlighting the link between violence against women and prevailing sexual stereotypes. The Peruvian government has recently ensured that violence against women is sanctioned with “due speed and severity”, and it introduced a “zero tolerance” to make violence socially and morally unacceptable in Peru. Inadequacy of reproductive health services and the alarmingly high level of maternal mortality remain a major problem.

Article by Wolfy Becker

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