The political participation of indigenous women in Latin America and the Caribbean | Press release
On the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the GATE Center has produced research on indigenous women’s political participation in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Violeta Domínguez: “indigenous women suffer triple discrimination because they are women, poor and indigenous”.
– According to the Director of the Social Area of the GATE Center, the main barriers to their political participation are the preponderance of men in the political arena, harassment and political violence against women, and patriarchal structures.
Madrid, 9 August 2022.
On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, GATE Center has produced a research study on the political participation of indigenous women in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This research highlights the continued discrimination suffered by indigenous women in politics. “Within the indigenous community, women do not have an active leadership role, and this leads to a low level of political participation in the public sphere”, explains Violeta Domínguez Acosta, Director of the Social Area of GATE Center.
This results in certain cultural practices that relegate women, on the one hand, to dedication to family care in the private sphere, and on the other, to secondary participation in community educational, health and administrative support actions in the public sphere.
According to a study carried out by Delphi and published by Oxfam Bolivia, women say that the main barriers to their political participation in the Bolivian context are the preponderance of men in the political arena, harassment and political violence against women, and patriarchal structures. “These reasons tend to be widespread in the Latin American context in general”, Dominguez Acosta explains in the GATE Center’s research.
“Across Latin America and the Caribbean, indigenous women’s representation in state, regional or even municipal government bodies tends to be affected by multiple structures of discrimination,” says Dominguez.
To this discrimination “must be added the lack of consideration of indigenous idiosyncrasies in decision-making”. According to Domínguez, this results in limited access to essential services, formal labour and economic conditions, justice and power in political decision-making.
Different realities in Latin America and the Caribbean
In the last decade there has been some progress in the design and implementation of legislative mechanisms to achieve a structural transformation of the political landscape for women, especially indigenous women. Between 2019 and 2020, parity legislation was achieved in up to 10 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, a historic record. However, the reality of the advancement of indigenous women’s political rights is very different in each country.
“In Bolivia, for example, democratic parity does not materialise adequately for indigenous women due to a high presence of violence and political harassment, while in Guatemala, democratic parity and ethnic recognition are even further away from being achieved due to the discrimination suffered by the indigenous community, which is treated as a minority group despite the fact that it represents more than half of the country’s population,” explains Domínguez Acosta.
Towards the design of a new agenda for indigenous women and their political participation
The research conducted by GATE Center, in line with UN Women’s efforts in the Latin American and Caribbean region, provides a series of conclusions and recommendations. Domínguez Acosta explains that it is necessary to “continue facilitating democratic parity to ensure that women are represented in political bodies of power”.
In this sense, in order to eradicate the triple discrimination suffered by indigenous women because they are women, poor and indigenous, it is necessary to “formalise the rights of indigenous women and address existing cases of political violence”.
Likewise, the expert also suggests the need to guarantee quality education for indigenous women and the political and cultural recognition of indigenous ethnic diversity.
Access to the full research and video summary at:
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GATE Center is a non-profit organisation, a space for reflection and analysis whose mission is to study global and emerging trends in the economy, the social sphere, technology and their impact on the international political order. It seeks to contribute to the understanding of the changes that will determine this century.
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