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Gender Equality in Latin America: This is the Balance of 2021

Here's how gender equality was in Latin America during 2021.

Group of women smiling at camera

We summarize how gender equality was in 2021 in the region. Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: Igualdad de género en Latinoamérica: así estuvo el balance en 2021

As the years go by, we get closer and closer to having a fair society that dignifies people's lives regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, class or economic and political status, but we still see injustices every day and we find ourselves with controversial and frustrating facts. A constant, for example, is the gender gap, which has also been one of the main problems in the Latin American region. Therefore, below we summarize how gender equality was in 2021 in the region.

The pandemic: one more problem

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant a broad setback for various sectors of society and even for various social struggles that have been developing for decades. Of course, the fight for gender equality is no exception. In fact, it was one of those that was most affected and, consequently, women have been one of the social groups that have suffered the most from its impact.

According to the United Nations (UN), 2021 was a year in which the labor market improved compared to 2020, but the numbers are still very low: only 43% of Latin women managed to have a stable job. Latin America was the region with the lowest work rates for women in the world. It is more than clear that, although there has been an improvement, the figures leave much to be desired, especially considering that the pandemic meant 9.4% of jobs lost for women, compared to 7% for men in the region.

Also read: The Best Governments In Latin America In 2021

On the other hand, we find the cases of physical and psychological abuse, whose number was in the skies during 2020 in Latin America due to the mandatory confinements that existed around the world. Many girls and women had to live in confinement next to relatives or violent partners who psychologically and / or sexually abused them. In 2021, this number dropped due to the relaxation of several biosafety restrictions, including mandatory general quarantines. Violence against women is still very high. For example, in Mexico, on average, 10 women were murdered a day. As of December 27, 3,462 murdered women had been counted. Of this number, 2,450 were victims of intentional homicide, while another 922 were murdered because of their gender, according to the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System.

In short, the pandemic has been a problem that has mainly affected women and that reflects the machismo that has historically affected the region.

Advancement in human rights

At the end of 2020, Argentina took a giant step in achieving women's rights by legalizing abortion for any reason until week 14, becoming the first large country in the region to do so. This set a precedent in Latin America, where the groups continued to work firmly to de-stigmize the right to a dignified sexual reproduction and to decide on one's own body. After making the decision, the results did not wait. The rate of women killed due to illegal procedures dropped exponentially. Likewise, access to abortion services and accompaniment during the process grew. On the other hand, access to information was a standard during 2021, as many more women, girls and adolescents had the opportunity to learn without prejudice. These results are very important, as they serve as an example for abortion to begin to be seen as a right in the chambers of the countries and to be legalized.

On the other hand, in the region there was also a rise in the rate of women who actively participate in politics, especially those who hold political positions. For example, in Colombia the number of women that make up the Senate and the House of Representatives was 40% and 41.2% respectively. Let us remember that political participation is also seen as a human right.

In summary, this year had ups and downs, but we are looking forward to 2022 for gender equality that digifies the lives of women in the region.