Women’s Empowerment in HondurasHonduras is a country in Central America that borders the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, according to the CIA. In 1821, Honduras gained independence from Spain. A freely elected democratic government came to power in 1982 after 25 years of military rule. Despite this achievement, Honduras still has obstacles to overcome.  In a May 2017 report, ABC news said Hondorus had been called the most dangerous place to be a woman. This makes women’s empowerment in Honduras an important issue.

Honduras is a country steeped in machismo culture which helps fuel gang violence and violence against women. Every 16 hours a woman is murdered in Honduras making the country’s femicide rate one of the highest in the world. Violence against women is an increasing problem in Honduras and many women are either afraid of going to the police or feel that it does not help their situation. Women are afraid of going to the police because they fear that it will only make matters worse for them or because, in some cases, their abusers are gang members and going to the police would mean retaliation from the gang.

Around 95 percent of crimes against women go unpunished in Honduras. This includes domestic violence, murder and rape. Despite this, there are women who gather enough courage to leave their abusive relationships which is an important step towards women’s empowerment in Honduras. Trócaire discusses Calidad de Vida (Quality of Life) in a December 2014 article. Calidad de Vida is a women’s refuge located in the capital of Honduras which supports women who have experienced sexual and physical violence or emotional abuse. They encourage them to leave abusive relationships and to learn to be independent.

Calidad de Vida is making strides towards women’s empowerment in Honduras. Women have access to legal help, psychological support from women who have had similar experiences and participate in occupational therapy. There is space for up to 30 women and children who have nowhere else to turn to when leaving an abusive relationship.

A number of women who have benefited from this refuge have, in turn, helped other women who are victims of violence to seek help. They participate in the DENMAH project (for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents) which Calidad de Vida is a part of. This project promotes women’s rights and violence prevention. It works with women in rural and urban areas to promote women’s empowerment in Honduras.

– Fernando Vazquez

Photo: Flickr