Gender-Based AsylumGender-based violence plagues every country in the world. In some places, gender-based violence is a cultural norm. It is a deeply rooted way of life in which women, particularly, are subjected to physical and structural violence, with less access to economic opportunity and education. The dichotomy between gender-based violence as a private versus a public issue harms many refugees fleeing gender-based violence. Women are vulnerable to danger in their home country, along the migratory path and once they arrive in a destination country. Given that gender is not a standalone category for asylum in the U.S., women refugees are at great risk of being denied entry. The Movement for Gender-Based Asylum Justice is a collection of organizations and nonprofits whose goal is to solidify safety for refugees who are victims of gender-based violence.

Gender-Based Violence and Migration

In many countries, gender-based violence is so prevalent that it is the main cause of migration for women seeking asylum. The Northern Triangle made up of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador is a prime example of this. These three countries have some of the highest rates of feticide in the world and this violence is a primary cause for seeking asylum. The Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights evaluated over 200 women’s asylum claims and found that 91% reported fleeing unyielding abuse from individuals that their government was “unwilling or unable to control.” Those fleeing gender-based violence have more to face in the asylum-seeking process than other clear-cut asylum cases, such as religious minorities who are targeted directly and publicly. There are various ways for women to apply for asylum due to violence, but the U.S. asylum laws do not explicitly define these paths.

The Movement for Gender-Asylum Justice

The Movement for Gender-Asylum Justice believes that gender should be clearly defined as a category for asylum, similar to the protections offered based on race and religion. Made up of partnerships between Oxfam, the Tahirih Justice Center, the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project and more, the collective reaches across specializations to holistically defend women refugees and their rights to asylum. The Movement has many publications focusing on research and media outreach, such as its report from “survivors, pro bono attorneys, refugee health care providers, and a former immigration judge” as to why gender should be considered an asylum category.

Looking Ahead

While there is some hope for the future of gender-based asylum with organizations like the U.N. claiming that gender is a valid category for requesting asylum, on the whole, women refugees are not fully protected. The decision to grant asylum on the basis of gender is still contested and inconsistent in the U.S. For women to be empowered to seek safety outside of their home country, the threat of being sent back cannot be as unpredictable and devastating as it is presently. The Movement for Gender-Asylum Justice is pushing for what has long been recognized as a need for the protection of women and girls to become standard.

– Hannah Yonas

Photo: Flickr

Gender Inequality in Mexico
Gender inequality is one of the most widespread barriers to global development. The World Economic Forum has reported that political participation, economic opportunity, education and health care are still not fully accessible for women around the world and noted that it would take about 132 years to dissolve the gender gap in the world’s current trajectory. Gender inequality in Mexico reflects a similar reality — in 2021, almost 44% of females 15 and older participated in the labor force compared to 75.7% of males. Furthermore, females in Mexico contribute 30.7% of their time to unpaid care work in comparison to just 10% of men. These numbers work to reinforce poverty as having more women in the workplace brings many positive benefits that lift up entire economies. GENDES AC aims to reduce gender inequality in Mexico by focusing on the roles of men.

Gender Inequality in Mexico

The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on just how deeply rooted the exclusion of women is. In Mexico, at the onset of the pandemic, women faced higher rates of job losses and shouldered the burden of unpaid domestic care. According to a study that Paula Andrea Valencia Londoño led, “The inequality in the distribution and use of time is an important determinant in workforce inequality.” Further, “the fact that women bear the brunt of unpaid domestic labors and caregiving has limited their economic participation and constitutes one of the principal barriers to their economic independence.”

Violence against women in Mexico is common and citizens have criticized the government for failing to effectively protect women. A May 2022 Americas Quarterly article said that there are about 10 femicides in Mexico each day. Mexico’s government has largely dissolved social programs aimed at empowering women, contributing to increasing gender equality in the nation.

GENDES AC

Founded in 2008, GENDES AC is a nonprofit based in Mexico that fights this gender inequity with a unique approach. In Mexico, “the presence of a machista culture, in which men exaggerate the violent, authoritarian, aggressive aspects of male identity, can be seen in the socially entrenched gender inequality and sexist, patriarchal structures,” said a journal article by Sarah Frances Gordon. This type of cultural norm dictates the nature of relationships between men and women in Mexico, in private spheres as well as in the broader economic landscape.

GENDES AC operates workshops for men to challenge their cultural biases and unlearn the social stigmas surrounding violence and relationships. These workshops teach men to contribute to gender equality and the protection of women by identifying their own actions that contribute to these injustices. GENDES AC’s mission is to involve men in the restructuring of gender norms in order to create a safer space for women to participate in civil society.

GENDES AC also conducts research and partners with local governments and civil society to propose public policy solutions that effectively utilize gender inclusion for development. It releases a number of publications, ranging from providing education about the interplay between masculinity and poverty to guidebooks for those seeking to relearn new behaviors that empower their communities. The organization’s release titled “Gender Equality Policies” offers insight into culturally relevant strategies for Mexico to improve outcomes for women.

Looking Ahead

Coupled with sound economic and public policy, community-based efforts to restructure power and increase understanding may be the best approach to fighting gender inequality in Mexico. GENDES AC is doing the grassroots work necessary to garner national attention and create change.

– Hannah Yonas
Photo: Flickr

Gender Inequality in Egypt
Egypt is a country famous for its robust capital city and majestic monuments, reminiscent of the sophisticated ancient civilizations that it once cultivated. However, the country has struggled to alleviate gender disparities, and gender inequality in Egypt has placed its ranking 134th out of 153 countries according to the Global Gender Gap Index. Despite these numbers, Egypt has shown determination to eliminate gender discrimination domestically and worldwide by aiming to provide more representation globally.

Egypt’s Advancements

Egypt recently made substantial steps forward in representing women not only domestically, but worldwide. Dr. Maya Morsy, the President of Egypt’s National Council for Women, was elected to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women for 2023-2026. The Committee’s goal is to eliminate all forms of gender discrimination against women and uplift them by recognizing women’s rights through new laws and providing more opportunities. The Committee contains 23 members who are qualified experts in women’s issues.

Dr. Morsy’s significant accomplishment follows the Committee’s previous ruling in 2021 that Egypt would no longer be considered in a state of emergency and that the progress of eliminating gender inequality since 2010 showed great improvement in equality within Egyptian civil society.

Dr. Morsy presented the combined eighth to tenth periodic reports of Egypt to the Committee in 2021 and claimed the creation of a new era for eliminating gender discrimination began with the June 2014 election of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. With this election, women became a major focus of Egypt’s National Human Rights Strategy.

In the conclusion report that lifted Egypt from its state of emergency, the Committee praised new key national strategies for its contribution to alleviating gender inequality in Egypt, including acclaim for its 2014 Constitution. It created more opportunities for women in civil, social, political and economic sectors.

Gender Inequality in Egypt’s Workforce

The labor force of Egypt is predominantly male. In 2020, only 18% of women able to work participated in the labor force while 65% of working-age men participated, according to USAID.

According to the World Bank, Egypt-specific studies have predicted that the GDP would rise by 34% if the labor force participation of women was as high as men. GDP is a rough estimate of a country’s standard of living. Because of this, an increase of women in the workforce has a high potential to boost the Egyptian economy and reduce poverty.

The Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics reported that the poverty rates between 2015 and 2018 rose dramatically from 27.8% to 32.5%. This hike in poverty led to the less general consumption of goods and services such as education and health care. Increasing the labor force participation rate of women could ultimately positively affect the economy of Egypt while also destigmatizing their presence in the workplace and civil society.

Stepping Forward

Egypt has made tremendous advances toward eliminating gender inequality within its country. The appointment of Dr. Maya Morsy to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women demonstrates Egypt’s dedication to the pivotal issue. Domestically, the creation of more freedoms, such as financial equality, broader property rights and universal access to reproductive health care is reflected in initiatives such as the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women for 2016-2030. In addition, the government saw an increase in the proportion of women in senior management positions to 24.1%.

In Egypt, the future of opportunity expansion for women, according to the current progress in eliminating gender discrimination, appears hopeful and experts such as Dr. Maya Morsy intend to enact change globally.

– Caroline Zientek
Photo: Flickr

Gender Wage Gap in Australia
Australia has the world’s 13th-largest economy by gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022. Nonetheless, there is a significant gender wage gap in Australia. According to the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), the gender wage gap is the difference in average earnings between females and males. A variety of factors contribute to reduced wages for women in comparison to men, causing the former to lag behind economically. In this sense, Australia is setting forward further acts to close the gap, given its previous shortcomings.

Overview

Over the last two decades, the gender wage gap in Australia has varied from 13% to 19%. According to the latest data from November 2021, the gender pay gap stands at 13.8%, which WGEA measured with information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). As of November 2021, “women’s average weekly total full-time earnings are $316.80 less” than men. For women who work part-time, “women’s average weekly total earnings are $483.30 less per week than men.” The World Economic Forum’s 2021 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Australia 50th out of 156 nations, much lower than Australia’s 15th ranking in 2006.

Contributing Factors to the Gender Wage Gap in Australia

The WGEA 2021 report lists four major culprits behind the gender wage gap in Australia:

  1. Discrimination in workplace recruitment and wage/salary decisions.
  2. Gender-dominant industries, “with female-dominated industries and jobs attracting lower wages.”
  3. Women bear the burden of unpaid childcare with inadequate job flexibility “to accommodate these responsibilities,” especially in higher-level job roles.
  4. Women require more time outside of the labor force, which detrimentally affects their career advancement and opportunities for progression.

Disrupted Past Actions

Australia stood as a pioneer in implementing laws to uphold the principle “equal pay for equal work” in 1969 as well as 1972, later bringing gender equality reporting in 1986. In 2012, the Workplace Gender Equality Act came into operation, asking employers to file an annual report with WGEA containing “data by gender on remuneration, workforce composition and the recruitment, promotions and resignations of their employees.”

Furthermore, in 2017, the government introduced “Towards 2025: An Australian Government strategy to boost women’s workforce participation,” with the aim to close the gender gap in workforce participation by 25% by the year 2025. This would equate to adding 200,000 Australian females to the nation’s workforce.

Indeed, the early results were promising, with the national gender pay gap decreasing from 18.6% (2014) to 14.1% (2018). That said, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic stifled progress, resulting in a minor increase to 14.2% (2021), indicating that full-time working Australian women would have had to work an additional 61 days in a period of 12 months to earn the equivalent of a male in the same position.

COVID-19 aside, Australia lacked transparency and accountability in terms of action to create change, despite “a world-leading dataset on workplace gender equality.” The incentives or penalties introduced by the nation were not effective enough to alter behavior on an organizational level. Specifically, the country only insisted on large-scale, private corporations reporting on gender equality, meaning many other entities did not have equal gender equality responsibilities.

Looking Ahead

As Australia’s economy recovers from the pandemic, Danielle Wood, CEO of Melbourne’s Grattan Institute, recommended in a report that “the Federal Government supports women’s jobs by making a longer-term investment in childcare to encourage women’s workforce participation.”

The Australian government gives the main caretaker of a newborn or adopted child 18 weeks of paid parental leave. Australian women utilize about 98% of Australia’s government-financed paid parental leave.

On May 9, 2022, the Australian Greens political party released a policy to raise wages in female-dominated industries, namely nursing, childcare and education, with the first and foremost purpose to force the gender wage gap in Australia to narrow.

Regarding transparency and accountability, the WGEA is taking action to ensure gender equality and close the gender pay gap. Established in 1986, the WGEA uses data-driven strategies to create change. The agency utilizes four main strategies to address the gender wage gap and gender inequality as a whole.

These consist of helping employers fulfill reporting requirements under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 and publishing lists of non-compliant organizations to push for change. In addition, the organization runs a Pay Equity Ambassador program so that leaders within businesses can influence and promote pay equity within the workplace. Furthermore, standout organizations receive an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation award to recognize efforts to advance equality and encourage commitments to transformative change.

The ongoing efforts to bridge the gender wage gap in Australia, particularly those efforts learned from past experiences, promise a bright future in which women and men receive equal payment and treatment.

– Lan Nguyen
Photo: Unsplash

MujerProspera Challenge
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) introduced MujerProspera (WomanProsper) Challenge on January 13, 2022. The challenge encourages applicants to propose innovative ways to promote gender equality in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Overall, this project addresses the relationship between gender and poverty and forms part of a long list of ongoing USAID projects that bolster the opportunities of the world’s impoverished.

Gender and Poverty

Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras noted high levels of extreme poverty even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, although the spread of the virus prompted rises in poverty levels throughout the region. According to the Center for Strategic and Management Studies, the Northern Triangle, of which Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras form part, stands as “one of the [most impoverished] regions in the Western Hemisphere.” Migration patterns and environmental disasters also exacerbate the struggles of those living below the poverty line. As of August 12, 2021, USAID estimated that 8.3 million citizens across these three countries require humanitarian aid.

These facts do not exist in isolation of gender inequality. In fact, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras stand out as nations where gender and poverty intertwine. Data from the Gender Equality Observatory shows that extremely high percentages of women in Guatemala (51%), El Salvador (39.4%) and Honduras (43.5%) had no “incomes of their own.” All of these rates are higher than the regional average, which stood at 27.8% as of 2019.

Evidence proves that changing these statistics leads to positive change. A World Bank report on women’s role in Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) economies notes that “an increase in the number of women in paid work between 2000 and 2010 accounted for around 30% of the overall reduction in poverty and income inequality.” Women in these countries receive fewer opportunities and face more challenges than many men in the same social and economic situation. As such, U.S. efforts to combat global poverty must also combat global gender inequality.

Developments in Central American Women’s Rights

Local activists, politicians and international organizations in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras continue to make significant progress in women’s rights. One group, the IM-Defensoras, has launched several campaigns throughout Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras since 2016 to protect women and provide a cooperative network for female humanitarian activists.

In addition, the Regional Office of U.N. Women for LAC launched the Women, Local economy and Territories (WLEaT) program in 2018 with a specific focus on the Northern Triangle countries. WLEaT “contributes to the creation of new and better employment and income opportunities for women entrepreneurs and businesswomen” by strengthening their access to business services and promoting inclusive financial practices in the private sector. The program, therefore, contributes to multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as ending global poverty (SDG 1),  combating gender inequality (SDG 5) and promoting “decent work” and economic expansion (SDG 8).

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in June 2021, USAID and several partner organizations provided resources for women in need of humanitarian aid. This includes a total of $60 million spread across the three Northern Triangle countries to encourage employment, train Indigenous women for midwife careers, prevent gender-based violence and more. Most recently, on January 13, 2022, USAID introduced another important program: the MujerProspera Challenge.

What is the MujerProspera Challenge?

The MujerProspera Challenge stands as one of many U.S. programs pushing against multiple levels of inequality. The program’s official request for applications documents states that the project seeks to “advance women’s economic security, employment, and/or entrepreneurship” in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The lofty document lists different types of solutions that draw from training initiatives in the private sector to the implementation of gender-inclusive legislation. However, overall, MujerProspera provides another way for women in these countries to protect their agency and independence.

Applicants can win funding awards ranging from $150,000 to $500,000 in value. Through these awards, applicants can fund necessary initiatives or solutions that acknowledge the relationship between gender and poverty and promote women’s involvement in the economic sector. The MujerProspera Challenge thus empowers women, local activists, entrepreneurs and organizations to develop solutions to improve situations of gender inequality and poverty in their home countries.

– Lauren Sung
Photo: Flickr

Gender Wage Gap in IcelandIceland is a small island nation, home to about 366,000 people, situated in the North Atlantic Ocean between Greenland and Norway. Owing partly to its small size, Iceland has become a world leader in various social indicators, such as gender equality and poverty reduction. For the 12th year in a row, Iceland was crowned the most gender-equal country in the world by the World Economic Forum in its 2021 Global Gender Gap Report. Despite this top ranking, it is still necessary to fully close the gender wage gap in Iceland, and in turn, alleviate remaining poverty within the nation.

Poverty in Iceland

The gender wage gap, no matter how small, can have a significant impact on one’s vulnerability to poverty. The gap between the earnings of men and women means that pay cuts, unemployment and economic downturns more dramatically impact women, which can and have historically led to increases in poverty in Iceland.

The poverty rate in Iceland is much lower in comparison to its Nordic neighbors, with about 9% of Icelanders earning an income that falls below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold in 2018. In other Nordic countries, this figure sits “between 12% and 16.4%” while the average in the European Union stands at 21.9% in 2020.

Another indicator of poverty, the unemployment rate, is also very low in Iceland, standing at 3.9% in 2019. Further, there is little disparity between the unemployment rate for men and for women. However, there remains a difference in the employment rate, with 88% of working-age men having a paid job in comparison to 83% of women. This difference links to roles of childcare and housekeeping, which traditionally fall on women. However, Iceland has robust subsidized childcare policies, which lessen the burden of traditional gender roles and allow women to participate in the labor force more freely.

The Gender Wage Gap in Iceland

The Global Gender Gap Report finds that Iceland has closed 89.2% of its gender wage gap as of 2021, taking the lead as the most gender-equal country in the world. There is a strong culture around social safety nets and welfare in Iceland, ensuring that gender and income inequalities are minimal. According to the OECD Better Life Index, wage bargaining in Iceland helps promote income inequality and decrease poverty rates. In addition to this, the government has implemented several policies in recent years with the intention of addressing the gender wage gap in Iceland.

Gender Equality Policies in Iceland

First, and most well-known, is the Equal Pay Certification, the first policy of its kind in the world. This policy, which went into effect in 2018, requires all companies with 25 or more employees to provide annual proof of equal pay for men and women. The policy previously only required companies to disclose information on wages, but the government expanded it to further increase job satisfaction and transparency in the pay system. This one-of-a-kind policy is making strides to close what is remaining of the gender wage gap in Iceland.

Iceland also requires a near equal gender balance on the boards of all publicly traded companies and requires a certain percentage of employees to be of each gender. All companies with 25 or more employees must also disclose the gender composition of their employees — an initiative aimed at pressuring companies to improve gender equality in the workplace. While this policy does not directly address the gender wage gap, it is a step in ensuring overall gender equality that is likely to promote equal pay.

Looking Ahead

All in all, the Icelandic government has shown success in continuously narrowing the gender wage gap through the implementation of these policies. This success allows the nation to stand as a world leader in gender equality. Despite this, there is still room for progress, especially as Iceland’s demographics change and the country struggles with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistics Iceland reports that immigrants represented 15.2% of the population in Iceland in 2020 — a figure that is consistently growing. Immigrants are at greater risk of poverty in Iceland because they are “less likely to be employed” compared to “their native-born counterparts.” Furthermore, the gender wage gap disproportionately impacts immigrant women, therefore, as the immigrant population in Iceland increases, strong gender equality policies remain important.

Another threat to narrowing the gender wage gap in Iceland is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has stalled progress in gender equality and poverty eradication worldwide. In Iceland, like in all countries where women face a double burden of working while caring for children and the household, lockdowns and social distancing force more women to stay home from work. These pandemic effects may threaten to reverse progress in gender wage gap policies. However, there is hope that the constant and unyielding work of the Icelandic government will ensure progress for years to come.

– Emma Tkacz
Photo: Flickr

Gender Wage Gap In Namibia
Namibia ranks sixth in the Global Gender Gap Report of 2021, the highest-ranked African country for bridging the gap between women and men economic opportunity, educational attainment, health and political empowerment measure. In just nine years, Namibia has climbed 35 spots, excelling past Canada and the United States in the Global Gender Gap Report. A closer look at Namibia’s history provides insight into actions taken to bridge this gap and how the gender wage gap in Namibia still plays a role in society today.

Post-Independence Namibia Focuses on Gender Equality

Prior to Namibia gaining independence, many considered women the property of men. When Namibia gained full independence from South Africa in 1990, it implemented numerous changes aimed at improving gender equality, as well as equality for all, in the new constitution. Article 10 states that “[n]o persons shall be discriminated against on the grounds of sex, race, color, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status,” emphasizing Namibia’s commitment to equality.

Also, the Married Persons Equality Act became law in 1996. The act allows women to sign contracts, register a property in their name and act as directors of companies. Women in Namibia hold about 44% of the managerial professions.

In the year 2013, “Namibia’s ruling party, the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO),” implemented a 50/50 gender policy that requires “equal representation of men and women” in parliament. At the time of the policy creation, women filled only 25% of the positions in parliament. Currently, women occupy 44% of the seats in parliament, proving that the gender policy has been effective in adding more women to work in government roles. The government’s adoption of these policies aid in creating a more inclusive environment for women in Namibia, particularly in political and urban settings.

More Women Seek an Education

Women in Namibia are leading their male counterparts in post-secondary education with a tertiary education enrollment rate of 30% for women and 15% for men. At the largest university in Namibia, the University of Namibia (UNAM), 64% of the students are women while only 36% are men. Many women continue on to obtain their master’s degrees or doctoral degrees. Once out of school, the labor force participation rate for women drops below men at 57% and 64% respectively. Even though more women seek secondary education than men, women earn less than men in several industries.

While the gender wage gap in Namibia is less prominent than that of many other countries, the distribution of wealth is immensely unequal. According to the Gini index, which measures the degree of inequality in the distribution of family income, Namibia ranks second-highest in comparison to all other countries in the world. Namibia has one of the highest Gini index ratings because of its high unemployment rate, with women more likely to experience unemployment. About 64% of Namibians survive on less than $5.55 per person per day, which equates to slightly more than $2,000 a year. The average amount U.S. citizens spend on a summer vacation is roughly the same.

Namibians Continue to Reach for Gender Equality

Much like other patriarchal societies, when women and men reach for equality, there are often roadblocks along the way. While women in Namibia now occupy 44% of the positions in parliament, they are still shy of the 50% goal of the 50/50 gender policy. The gender wage gap in Namibia has narrowed significantly, but there is still massive inequality concerning family income distribution. There is also an underlying dialogue in Namibia that women are inferior to men. Sexual and gender-based violence is prevalent due to societal and cultural norms. In fact, among the age group of 15 to 49, 28% of women and 22% of men in Namibia believe a husband beating his wife as a form of discipline constitutes a justifiable act. These beliefs contribute to a culture of gender inequality, which often proliferates inequalities in the workplace and perpetuates traditional gender roles.

Fortunately, the government is continuing to implement policies beneficial to gender equality. Additionally, women are pursuing secondary education at astounding rates, which is crucial in combating gender-based disparities as well as decreasing the gender wage gap in Namibia.

– Amy Helmendach
Photo: Flickr


The fight for women’s rights and gender equality in Mexico has come a long way but still needs improvement. Currently, the country still presents many challenges and obstacles for women to achieve equality. Mexican women face verbal and sexual abuse daily.

Recognizing the dire need for change, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are working hard to empower Mexican women. They are advocating for more women’s participation in politics and government. Here are some NGOs leading the fight for gender equality in Mexico.   

Fondo Semillas 

Fondo Semillas (“Seeds Fund”) is a nonprofit feminist organization based in Mexico. It focuses on improving Mexican women’s lives. The organization’s overarching mission is to create an equitable country where women can make their own decisions.

Launched during the 1968 student movement in Mexico City that represented a breakthrough for young Mexican women, Fondo Semillas seeks to mobilize domestic and international resources. To do this, it seeks institutional, corporate and individual donors. The organization also collaborates with other feminist groups to advance women’s rights.

Rather than coming up with short-term solutions, Fondo Semillas targets the roots of the problems and builds structural policies to address the issues. Through this work, Fondo Semillas has four key gender equity goals. These are protecting women’s bodies, preserving the women’s relationships with nature, advocating for job opportunities for women and preserving women’s identities in the country.

Simone de Beauvoir Leadership Institute (ILSB)  

The Simone de Beauvoir Leadership Institute (ILSB) is a feminist Mexican non-governmental organization (NGO) that endeavors to strengthen social leadership and citizen participation for women. The organization’s goal is to enhance justice, equity and gender equality in Mexico by helping feminist leaders and activists influence policies. ILSB also focuses on empowering women to demand progress. To advance these goals, ILSB aims to build a culture of activism and knowledge for women. Further, it strives to establish alliances between leaders who value gender equality in Mexico.

Through its advocacy projects and digital campaigns, ILSB is notable as a gender equality trailblazer. In short, the NGO wants to create female leaders who have a commitment to social justice and gender equality. Through these activists, ILSB hopes to change of realities of discrimination and inequality in Mexico.   

Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (“May Our Daughters Return Home”)  

Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (“May Our Daughters Return Home”) is an organization that strives to fight against femicide in Mexico. Founded after the murders and disappearances of Mexican women in the State of Chihuahua, Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa hopes to demand justice for women by focusing on returning the bodies of victims to their families for a proper burial. It also strives to bring aggressors to justice.

The organization attempts to advance these goals by providing legal guidance and social justice support for families whose daughters disappeared. It addresses both physical and mental health issues of affected family members. Not only does Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa inform the state government about any human rights violations but it also demands more accountability from the government. It does this by asking the government to allocate resources for women who femicide affects. Through these works, Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa addresses the ongoing problem of femicide and fights for advancing gender equality in Mexico.   

Las Libres  

Las Libres is a feminist organization with the primary mission to promote women’s human rights and to demand respect for women’s rights across Mexico. The organization specifically aims to provide women with access to legal and medical services. It also focuses on empowering indigenous, uneducated or low-income women.

Las Libres conducts educational workshops for women in marginalized communities. These aim to build awareness of women’s rights and create a safe environment for women to exercise their rights. They also offer legal and medical support for women who are victims of gender-based violence. Through this work, the organization envisions a future for gender equality in Mexico. 

PSYDEH

PSYDEH is a feminist, grassroots Mexican nongovernmental organization (NGO) that empowers rural and indigenous people with training in human rights and citizen development.  Further, it helps them to become leaders of their own marginalized communities. The NGO believes that change needs to come from the bottom up.

PSYDEH views women as central to families and societies. That is why the NGO presents women-led workshops to educate women on creating solutions to local problems. Further, the workshops teach women to utilize resources for improving their decision-making and their understanding of the law. By partnering with like-minded organizations, PSYDEH also helps women develop local projects for improving their quality of life. Through this work, the organization hopes to improve the self-awareness of Mexican women and foster solidarity between marginalized communities. Finally, it also aims to empower women to take action to better their own lives.   

Moving Forward

Gender inequality continues to pose problems for Mexico. However, these five NGOs are working hard to provide services and competency so that Mexican women can promote gender equality in Mexico.

– Tri Truong
Photo: Flickr

#ActForEqual
#ActForEqual has become popular on Twitter thanks to the recent Generation Equality Forum, which aims to push the progression of gender equality. Women of the U.N. created the Generation Equality Forum as a global gathering to discuss gender equality. The governments of Mexico and France co-hosted the forum, partnering with youth and civil society. Since the pandemic, existing gender inequalities have become worse. COVID-19 has intensified gender inequality in terms of violence, job loss, income, access to technology and more. The forum aims to confront these issues by “launching a series of concrete, ambitious and transformative actions.” It has set tangible goals for 2030.

Importance of the Hashtag

The Generation Equality Forum has used #ActForEqual to draw attention and bring about action. #ActforEqual allows people to show their support simply by posting the hashtag on social media. It is not only a hashtag but a call to action, urging people to do their part in raising awareness. It also calls attention to the fact that COVID-19 continues to worsen gender inequality globally.

COVID-19 and Gender Inequality

COVID-19 has affected people across the globe in many ways. However, it has disproportionately hurt women.

  • Job losses among women are 24% more likely than among men.
  • Women’s average income could fall by 50% more than men’s.
  • Statistically, one in every three women will face violence during her lifetime, a number that the pandemic has exacerbated.
  • Women are 10% less likely to have access to the internet than men.
  • Only 45% of women can make decisions about their bodily autonomy, including their sexual and reproductive health.

On top of these factors, Mckinsey and Company estimates that women’s job loss rates due to COVID-19 are about 1.8 times higher than men’s job loss rates globally. Furthermore, 4.5% of women’s work is at risk because of the pandemic, compared with 3.8% of men’s work. Through progressive action, the Generation Equality Forum aims to reduce these figures.

Taking Action Against Gender Equality

The Generation Equality Forum has created action coalitions that focus on the most critical areas of gender equality. These coalitions “catalyze collective action, spark global and local conversations among generations, drive increased public and private investment and deliver concrete, game-changing results.” Each focuses on a particular issue. The six coalitions aim to:

  • Promote feminist action in relation to climate.
  • Stop gender-based violence.
  • Boost feminist movements and leadership.
  • Promote economic justice and rights.
  • Guarantee women’s bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
  • Use technology and innovation to achieve gender equality.

By focusing on these areas, action coalition leaders plan to see concrete results over the next five years that will lead to lasting change regarding gender equality.

Despite the increased challenges regarding equality between men and women during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Generation Equality Forum is playing its part to raise awareness. These efforts have the potential to elevate women, placing them in an equal position to men across the globe.

– Ariel Dowdy
Photo: Flickr

Global gender equalityIn the fight for global gender equality, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is leading the way. According to the Peace Corps, gender equality means that “men and women have equal power and equal opportunities for financial independence, education and personal development” and is a crucial issue worldwide. Recently, the Gates Foundation made a significant donation to help support global gender equality efforts. This is not the only action the organization has taken to express its passion for establishing gender equality. The Gates Foundation’s efforts, with support from other organizations, will make great strides in the fight for global gender equality.

A Generous Donation

At the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, the Gates Foundation announced it would donate more than $2 billion to help improve gender equality worldwide. Over the next five years, the foundation plans to use the money to advance gender equality in three main areas: economic support, family planning and placing women in leadership roles. The Gates Foundation’s goal behind this decision is to specifically focus on gender-related issues that have worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the International Labor Organization found that unemployment for women increased by nine million from 2019 to 2020. Since the foundation has dedicated itself to supporting gender equality for many years, this monetary commitment will accelerate its progress.

Actions From the Foundation

Besides its billion-dollar donation, the Gates Foundation has been dedicating its work to create solutions for the lack of women’s equality for many years. In addition to several other million-dollar donations, in 2020, the foundation formally established the Gender Equality Division to prioritize its commitment to improving the lives of women and girls. From family health to economic empowerment, the foundation is working on expanding access to a variety of social, medical and educational services. This includes analyzing factors that help or hinder women and advising international governments on how to better support gender equality.

Solutions From Other Organizations

Aside from the Gates Foundation’s various efforts, other projects can improve circumstances relevant to global gender equality. One vital step to this process is looking at data from around the world. Data2X created a campaign that draws attention to issues associated with gender and proposes possible improvements. Similarly, another organization, Equality Now, uses legal and systemic advocacy to help improve global gender equality. Furthermore, after donating more than $400 million, the Ford Foundation has also committed to helping fix various gender-related issues. These issues include inequality in the economy and workforce.

The Gates Foundation’s donation of more than $2 billion is one significant step in eliminating global gender inequality. With initiatives worldwide, women and girls are gaining the equality and respect they should have always had. In addition, the Gates Foundation is supported by Data2X, Equality Now and the Ford Foundation. Together, people everywhere are working to understand and improve global gender equality.

– Chloe Moody
Photo: Wikimedia