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End violence against women and girls and feminicide:

key challenge for the construction of the city's society

Violence against women and girls, femicide, feminicide or violent deaths of women due to gender, make us see the persistence of the structural nodes of gender inequality, discrimination and gender-based violence against women. and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean. Patriarchal, discriminatory and violent cultural patterns are one of the most complex knots to dismantle. Violence knows no borders, affects women and girls of all ages and occurs in all spaces, from the domestic sphere to public spaces. Violence can be seen in the workplace, in the political sphere, in transportation, streets, schools, homes and other places where women visit on a daily basis. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has called it a “shadow pandemic.”

The Secretary-General of the United Nations invites the community to make a collective commitment to eliminate violence. As part of this initiative, Mr. Antonio Guterres created a campaign called “Unite by 2030 to end violence against women.” Recognizing the importance of the fight that women's movements have carried out. This campaign called in 2022 to join activism with the purpose of ending violence.

Given the great silence that has been observed in most countries, it was feminist organizations and activists who began the path of collecting data and building information on femicides or feminicides in several countries in the region. The actions of organizations and activists have been of great help in approving legislative reforms, formulating action plans and specific policies to comprehensively address violence against women and girls, and allocating resources to finance them. We cannot fail to mention that there is also a Regional Gender Agenda, which for 45 years has been responsible for being an innovative and comprehensive agenda towards the equality and autonomy of women. The Regional Gender Agenda has as its main framework the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, of 1979, and the Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence against Women (known as the Belém do Pará Convention , 1994), the first binding international instrument that recognized the right of women to a life free of violence, both in the public and private spheres.

In Latin America, there are over 10 countries that require the registration of data on the various forms of gender violence, including femicide or feminicide, as well as its analysis and dissemination. We cannot fail to mention that financial resources and technology for the creation of quality information continue to be an extremely big problem. Despite all the achievements made, available national surveys reveal that 63% and 76% of women and girls have experienced some episode of gender-based violence in different areas of their lives. According to estimates made, it was expected that by 2018 in Latin America and the Caribbean 43 million women between 15 and 49 years old, that is, 1 in 4 women would experience physical and/or sexual violence by their partner at least once in their lifetime (OMS, 2021).

Estimates in the area of ​​couples establish that it is a reality that is experienced in Latin America and the Caribbean. In a minority group of countries, estimates indicate that more than 30% of women have experienced violence by an intimate partner (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana and Peru), while in a large group this percentage varies between 20% and 29% (Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago). Finally, in seven countries it is estimated that the prevalence is less than 20% (Cuba, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela.

We can see how the figures have revealed how deeply rooted patriarchy is, violent, discriminatory patterns which devalue women within society. It is said that a decade and a half ago, Latin America and the Caribbean recognized the seriousness of violence against women and violent deaths. Qualitative studies have identified the existence of “contexts of femicidal violence” in the region, which exacerbate the occurrence of violent deaths of women due to gender. Among them, the contexts in which there is a strong presence of organized crime, structural and chronic violence, citizen insecurity and intense migratory flows stand out (Regional Program of the Spotlight Initiative for Latin America, 2021).

Being able to have quality statistical information goes beyond simply counting the victims. For the information to work and public policies to help women and girls to be designed, it is important to know a series of key data, such as the characteristics of the victims and the aggressors, the relationship between them, the contexts in which these were developed. crimes, the means used to cause death and whether the victim had filed any prior complaints against the attacker, among many other key details.

In 2021, at least 781 children and adolescents and other dependents lost their mother or caregiver due to femicide or feminicide in only 10 countries in the region that have data on the matter. This number reveals the great impact that gender violence has not only on female victims, but also on their families, the community and society as a whole. In Latin America, a growing group of countries has been incorporating into their legal frameworks and public policies the guarantee that the sons and daughters of women victims of femicide or feminicide receive economic reparations and comprehensive care services.

Gender-based violence is a phenomenon that is expressed in different ways and affects women in a transversal way. To make visible different aspects of this serious violation of human rights, the Gender Equality Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean focuses on the situation regarding violence against girls and adolescent women, given that gender discrimination takes on specific characteristics. when crossed with age and life cycle, factors that also represent a determining axis of the distribution of well-being and power in the social structure (CEPAL, 2016).

Sexual violence is one of the forms of violence in which gender inequality is most evident. It has been found that both adult women and girls and adolescent women are more exposed to this type of violence than men in the same age groups. In turn, child, early and forced marriages and unions constitute a manifestation of gender violence and a harmful and violent practice, which strongly affects the comprehensive development of girls and adolescents, and exposes them to situations of violence, unwanted pregnancies and early age and overload of care work when they have not yet consolidated their educational trajectories or their employment decisions. Those women who marry or join a union at an early age are more exposed to suffering some type of violence within the relationship than those who join in adulthood. (UNICEF, 2019).

Achieving the autonomy and empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity is a commitment that the countries of the region assumed within the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Building a society of care and a new development model that puts the sustainability of life at the center will only be possible if progress is made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, also guaranteeing the right of all women and girls to live. a life free from all forms of violence.


De la sociedad del cuidado, P. F. a. la V. C. las M. y. las N. y. al F. R. C. P. la C. (n.d.). América Latina y el Caribe. Retrieved October 21, 2023, from

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