Studies have shown that when women are successful, they invest beyond themselves, in their children, and in their communities. Investing in women is smart from both an economic and a social perspective. At 27 years old, she uses her music to defend the rights of indigenous Guatemalans, singing in her native Kaqchikel and Spanish. She gained national attention after uploading her song Ch’uti’ xtän (Niña) to social media, and her popularity has only risen from there as she continues to release music that is inspiring, powerful, and speaks directly of the hardships that indigenous people endure. Born to parents who were activists during Guatemala’s civil war, hip-hop artist Rebecca Lane has activism in her blood.
- But in the struggle’s most crucial hour, it was women who provided infinite examples of courage, perseverance and hope.
- “In my sister’s case, it only moved forward because the judges who had the courage to deal with it were women. Guatemala has shown that in different areas of the political spectrum, women have had more courage and commitment than the men to deal with the country’s problems.”
- The testimonies collected by the REMHI include 185 specific accusations of rape.
Like many other independent prosecutors and judges, Barrios regularly faces threats and intimidation. Just ten days after it was issued, the verdict in the genocide case was overturned by the Constitutional Court – with Judge Gloria Porras dissenting – due to alleged procedural errors. Unfortunately, Porras is not the first woman within Guatemala’s judiciary to face harassment or be exiled as a result of their commitment to fighting impunity and upholding the rule of law. Porras has faced numerous obstacles to her work, threatening the principle of judicial independence, which is crucial to the rule of law in democratic society. Judge Gloria Porras, a lawyer who is widely known for her commitment to combating impunity and corruption, is the latest victim of this process.
For example, during her party’s 2015 convention, Nanci was part of an internal dialogue process, which successfully led to the appointment of two new members onto the Executive Board as representatives of the Women’s Office and the Electoral Affairs office. Authorities may offer little support, said a 23-year-old indigenous woman at Center Casa de la Mujer, an organization for victims of gender-based violence in the town of Solola. Successive governments, often wracked with corruption, have done little to find justice or economic power for indigenous women, activists say. Native communities celebrate the birth of boys but not girls, said Debora Cobar, country director for Guatemala for Plan International, a children’s rights group.
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Wetherborn’s grandparents moved from Jamaica to Guatemala to work for the United Fruit Company. Growing up in Amatitlan, she was part of the only Black family in town and endured racist bullying at school. Her world changed when she found Angela Davis’s work and logged on a Yahoo! Chat to meet with a group of Afro-descendant women from Latin America and the Caribbean.
With the birth of the Mutual Support Group in 1984, the search for the disappeared became the principal organized effort in the struggle for human rights during the war’s hardest years. Guatemalan society, still terrorized by repression, found its voice in the voices of the women who protested in the streets demanding the return of their relatives, and also demanding the justice that many others were too afraid to express. We uncovered the objectives of the most important forms of violence against women, especially massacres, rape, torture and humiliation. And we looked at some of the ways in which women stood up to the violence and its consequences under very difficult circumstances—often alone or in charge of their families. Women who saved the lives of relatives and members of their communities deserve recognition.
Guatemalan Women Under Siege
Please, support the Ogiek and Endorois communities in Kenya to return to, and live securely on, their ancestral lands. Our annual index illustrates how, in various ways and to different degrees, authoritarian politics is playing a detrimental role in societies struggling with division, conflict and violence. Sign up to Minority rights Group International’s newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news and publications.
Combined with workshops involving men and women from participating families that explore sexism and interfamilial violence in indigenous communities, and Mujerave is transforming neighbourhoods! To read about how gender informs Mujerave’s work, refer to Mujerave’s Needs Assessment. In Mack’s experience, it is common for women to be threatened in this way or even killed by their attackers. Violence against women is still considered a domestic matter, she says, despite new laws against femicide and other forms of violence against women. In 2008 Guatemala became the first country to officially recognise femicide – the murder of a woman because of her gender – as a crime.
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We work primarily with indigenous women in Guatemalan in rural areas where the rate of poverty in Guatemala is the highest. While illiteracy and poverty rates are staggering in these regions, the women we work with are determined to create a change. An indigenous Maya Mam human rights defender and politician, Thelma Cabrera ran for president in 2019 as part of the Movement for the Liberation of People’s party. Growing up in a campesino family in a rural community on the west coast of Guatemala, she has devoted her life to improving the lives of the poor. Her unexpected rise in the polls during her presidential campaign brought her worldwide attention. She is only the second indigenous person in Guatemala to run for president, after Rigoberta Menchu. Yet, not much is being done to protect women and women’s rights in Guatemala.
She has worked as a domestic all her life, since fleeing an abusive father in the countryside. At age 43, she is nursing her 11th child, a newborn boy, as one of her granddaughters hides in the folds of her skirt. Indigenous women are less likely to finish school, like Maria Francisa Gonzalez, who left after three years of primary school and lives in Tecpan, in Guatemala’s highlands. María Toj, 70, another victim, says the violence hasn’t stopped, but she is still determined to speak out.
Other proportional representation democracies in Latin America have codified women’s political representation by passing legislation mandating that parties include a minimum percentage of female candidates on their ballots. These measures could impact the root causes of sexual assault and interfamilial violence identified herein. Lobbying leaders in our home countries to support such policies Guatemala marriage abroad is a powerful tool. Because the Ogiek have no legally recognised land rights, despite hundreds of years of residence in this forest, the government is refusing to provide social services or public facilities in the area. This has an impact on access to education and health, particularly for the community’s most vulnerable members, such as people living with disabilities.