Namlo Honors International Women’s Day

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March 8, 2017

By Lorena Garcia, Executive Director

International Women’s Day is day where communities all over the world celebrate the advancements made towards women’s equality and recognize the inequalities that still exist. Namlo believes that by empowering women, an entire nation is empowered. We believe that in order for women to achieve true equality in society and in their households, they must have equal access to education, income-earning opportunities, health care, and skills building opportunities. This, of course means different things for different countries.

In Nepal, International Women’s Day is an official country holiday for women. While this is a great victory, women are still below the national average on  literacy rates, only earn 57% of what men earn, and 48% of women will face violence against them in their life time. The Government of Nepal has made a number of commitments at the international level to ensure gender equality and to curb violence against women by passing international human rights instruments, including the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Unfortunately, there has been very little policy and legal efforts to realize the CEDAW.

In Nicaragua, President Ortega announced that 50% of all government jobs and contracts go to women. The first lady, now Vice President Rosario Murillo and the female Chief of Police, Aminta Granera are the most popular figures in Nicaragua. However, the realities of women not married to the president or head of the police are very different. Women face an enormous amount in interfamilial violence with 37% of women having been beaten by their family while pregnant. High rates of “Femicide” (when a man kills a woman he deems her property) continue to plague Nicaragua. This country is also home to the second highest rate of domestic violence (after Guatemala) where one in three women report abuse. Nearly half of Nicaraguan girls are enrolled in secondary education, above the 42% rate for Nicaraguan boys, but well below other developing countries such as the Philippines, Kenya and Belize. And yet, only 18% of Nicaraguan women attend university or other types of tertiary education, and 17% don’t know how to read and write.

Yes, advances are being made and that is why we must continue to be diligent in supporting the local efforts for gender equality.