Women in El Salvador face a myriad of challenges, including gender-based violence, poor living standards and unequal treatment in education. Underscoring the severity of the situation, in 2021, El Salvador had one of the highest rates of femicide in Latin America and the world, with a reported 2.4 cases of femicide per 100,000 women. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), women and girls between the ages of 15 and 29 years face the greatest threat of femicide. In response to the issue, a number of NGOs in El Salvador are helping women to avoid violence and discrimination.
NGOs in El Salvador Helping Women
- Women of Hope: In 2021, the nonprofit organization Salvador’s HOPE launched a project called Women of Hope. This initiative tackles increasing rates of sexual and domestic violence, kidnappings and disappearances among El Salvador’s women and girls by providing counseling, resources and abuse and safety training. Working in collaboration with local churches and NGOs, Women of Hope aims to promote “Worth, Value and Dignity” among vulnerable women.
- The Girls’ Education Accelerator (GEA): The GEA is a Global Partnership for Education (GPE) project that supports girls and young women in a number of partner countries. The first of these to access the GEA and its funding was El Salvador in June 2022. The country received a $15 million grant to advance gender equality in education from early childhood to adolescence and strengthen the girls’ education focus of the government’s “Crecer Juntos” (Growing Together) policy for early education. For instance, a GEA research project found that 70% of test booklets across four key subjects promoted domestic and familial roles for girls while overlooking women in professional careers. Hence, the GEA is serving as an initiative that focuses on developing gender-sensitive learning materials and reform assessments so that teachers can more accurately assess the gender disparities in their classes’ results. The World Bank’s “Growing Up and Learning Together: Comprehensive Early Childhood Development” program and the “Nacer, Crecer, Aprender” (Be Born, Grow Up and Learn) program of the Inter-American Development Bank are lending further support to the initiative.
- LibrES: For an El Salvador without Gender-Based Violence: Arizona State University has launched a five-year project, “LibrES: For an El Salvador without Gender-Based Violence,” in an effort to reduce rates of gender-based violence in El Salvador. With $35 million in funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), LibrES works in San Salvador, San Miguel and Santa Ana. These cities have the most recorded cases of gender-based violence in the country. LibrES collaborates with local organizations and plans to serve 3,000 Salvadorans, train 1,000 people to promote gender equality and female empowerment and facilitate more than 100,000 interactions through its public campaigns by the time of its conclusion in December 2027. Furthermore, many of ASU’s schools are collaborating to support women in El Salvador. The Thunderbird School of Global Management, for one, is training staff to introduce its DreamBuilder curriculum, which helps women worldwide launch or refine their own businesses. The university’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law is also working with Salvadoran prosecutors to make the country’s legal system a safer place for survivors of gender-based violence.
Despite the injustices that they face, the almost 3.5 million women living in El Salvador today are gaining growing support in the fight against violence and educational inequities. Local, national and international organizations are working to raise awareness regarding issues that affect women, These organizations also work to provide protection and opportunities for the many women who are victims of gender-based violence.