Posts Tagged ‘Gender Equality’

Who Will be the Next President of El Salvador? Open-Forum with Presidential Candidates

February 2, 2014

Tomorrow, eighty SHARE delegates will travel throughout El Salvador to participate as international observers in the 2014 Salvadoran Presidential elections.  

Yesterday, these delegates had the privilege of meeting the Vice Presidential candidate for the three largest political parties in this elections: FMLN, UNIDAD, and ARENA. While the political campaigns officially ended on Wednesday and political parties can no longer promote their candidate, the vice presidential candidates answered a series of questions covering the economy, security, and education.

To open the forum the first presenter, FMLN Vice Presidential candidate Oscar Ortiz began, “I want to thank CIS and SHARE for bringing you here to help the Democratic process. Thank you for accompanying us at this historic moment. I won’t ask you to vote, but I will tell you that we will win.”

Ortiz explained the FMLN’s top five priorities:

1. Grow the economy to both improve jobs and create more jobs

2. Education, invest more in the people of El Salvador

3. Security,guarantee greater safety for families and entire communities

  • Continue to lower the homicide rate
  • Reign in extortion
  • Reform the prison system in El Salvador

4. Continue with social inclusion programs

5. Strengthen the democratic system in El Salvador

Ortiz recognized that though the homicide rate in El Salvador has decreased from 83 per 100,000 in 2009 to 42 per 100,000 in 2013, too many Salvadorans continue to suffer from high levels of violence. The mass immigration to the United States has torn families apart and the FMLN will invest in children, art, community programs that will reconstruct the social fabric of Salvadoran society.

“We don’t want our biggest export to be people. We are grateful for the way people in the U.S. have received our people, but we need to ensure that our people can stay here.” said Ortiz.

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Update on Women´s Attention Centers: A Life Free of Violence

October 30, 2013

On November 25th, 2010, The Special Law for a Life Free of Violence against Women passed, guaranteeing that unlike in the past, the thousands of femicide cases, physical abuse, harassment in the workplace, communities, and schools, would be addressed, not pushed aside as “cultural issues”. Prior to the passage of the law, El Salvador ranked highest for intentional female homicide in the world: 13.9 for every 100,000 women.

ORMUSA (Organization of Salvadoran Women for Peace), a longtime SHARE partner, recognized the severity of the violent situation women faced on a daily basis and decided to take action. “Women need to know that there are spaces for them to denounce these crimes,” explains Silvia Juarez of ORMUSA.  Although the femicide rate has only dropped slightly, the number of court cases and convictions concerning violence against women have increased. According to Juarez, this is because women are slowly learning their rights, denouncing these crimes, and most importantly, standing up for themselves.

Pamphlet explaining the importance of reporting crimes and describing the purpose of the Attention Centers.

Pamphlet explaining the importance of reporting crimes and describing the purpose of the Attention Centers.

Raising awareness of this law does not only mean educating the victims, but also ensuring that those that make up the justice system, ie., police officers, judges, social workers, etc, handle these cases appropriately. With the support of The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and the Rachael and Ben Vaughan Foundation SHARE has supported ORMUSA in training police officers, social workers, and medical personnel in responding to women who are victims of violent crimes.

“We have been training police officers, building attention centers, and promoting gender equal policies for quite some time now. And finally we are seeing some results,” explains Juarez. Six Women’s Attention Centers have been constructed in different PNC (National Civilian Police) units throughout the country.  But ORMUSA will not stop there.  They plan on having ten centers in place before the end of the year.  And plan to have twelve centers by the end of 2014.

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Developing Women’s Rights: Roundtable Event in Chalatenango

October 16, 2013

 

Women of CCR

Women of CCR

In the 1970s, the valiant women of Chalatenango began organizing their communities, combating historical human rights abuses, fighting for women’s rights, and against mining. Today, almost four decades later, the women of the CCR (la Asociación de Comunidades para el Desarrollo de Chalatenango) continue to stand up for the rights of their communities. Made up of over 100 organized rural communities in Chalatenango, the CCR comprises one of the four CRIPDES regions with which SHARE partners.

Empowering women to be leaders within their communities lies at the center of transforming gender relationships in El Salvador. On September 25th the Women’s Secretariat of the CCR held a roundtable event  to strengthen this movement through an exchange of information and discussion of current events among the women who work tirelessly to continue this movement.

The roundtable included the women from different communities in the CCR, a representative from ISDEMU (the Salvadoran Institute for Women’s Development), two representatives from the Ministry of Education, and a representative from CORDES (a close partner of CRIPDES that provides technical training and support for agricultural initiatives). This roundtable touched upon various themes, including: domestic violence, liberating women from their silence and encouraging them to denounce crimes committed against them, promoting literacy at the regional and national level, and promoting women’s rights through advertisements on community radio stations.

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Women’s Choice

October 8, 2012

Women came from all over to participate in the forum.

When Sonia Tabora got pregnant at age 20, she never dreamed her next 7 years would be spent in prison. After a premature birth, Sonia’s baby died suddenly. Sonia was alone in her shock and grief, severely bleeding, until the doctor arrived. However, once she explained what had happened, her story was deemed an abortion cover-up and she was sentenced to 30 years in prison for aggravated homicide. A victim of the harsh culture surrounding women’s reproductive rights in El Salvador, Sonia was fortunate enough to get her case overturned after years of fighting for her freedom date.

Sonia is just one woman among many who have suffered unjustly due to the oppressive governing laws ruling women’s bodies and reproductive choices, especially regarding abortion laws. Since 1997, El Salvador has executed a policy that states, “Penalización absoluta,” meaning that it is unexceptionally illegal to perform or receive an abortion, including pregnancies that result from rape or incest, or when the pregnancy is life-threatening.  Under the current law women who are convicted under this Penal Code face anywhere from two to eight years of imprisonment.  This is indicative of the culture surrounding women’s reproduction and rights, as laws like these are used as tools to oppress women and to maintain the government’s power over the lives of its people.

Alliance for Sexual Health and Reproduction in El Salvador (Alianza) and the Central Women’s Fund (FCAM) held a forum on Sept. 28th entitled, “Implications of the absolute incrimination of abortion in women’s lives”. SHARE partner ORMUSA participated in the forum in which many social justice groups discussed how this law, among others, seizes sovereignty over women’s bodies; in turn, it encroaches on their freedom, aggravating gender inequality and intensifying the consequences of unplanned pregnancy.

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A Message from the Organized Women of Chalatenango Facing the Food Crisis

July 14, 2011

At a recent Forum on Food Justice sponsored by Oxfam, Sonía Alemán, representing hundreds of organized women in Chalatenango, read the following message about food security in Chalatenango.  The message was collectively written by twenty women leaders of SHARE counterpart the CCR.  SHARE is currently working with the CCR on a project called Women’s Empowerment through Food Security and Microfinance.

A translation of Sonía’s message:

As organized rural women, we recognize ourselves as protagonists of life in this country. We bring food to our families.

I, Sonia Alemán, rural woman and preserver of life, wish to share reflections that, with other rural women from Chalatenango, we have in relation to the serious food crisis we face.

Despite our own efforts and those of our families, dedicated to farming life, organized women believe that in our rural communities, we are unable to ensure healthy food for our families.

In our communities, we are able to produce at least corn and beans.  But we understand that a complete diet is more than that—we need food in both quantity and quality to nourish our bodies, so that our sons and daughters can grow healthy and strong.

Currently, women face many difficulties to provide food for our homes.

In the first place, we do not have secure access to land to grow.  In addition, it is impoverished land, sick and polluted.  This effects especially women, as the majority of fertile land owners are right, and it is almost always men that enjoy the right to property, although it is us women who work the land.

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