The level of gender-based discrimination in social institutions which include laws, social norms and practices in Latin America, is 25%.
Six Latin American countries still don’t have laws or policies that facilitate women’s access to land ownership. This is only one among the relevant conclusions of the 2019 Social Institutions and Gender Index report, presented today in Madrid by the OECD Development Centre, together with the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) and BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF).
Participants of the event included Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Spain to the OECD, and chair of the OECD Development Centre’s Governing Board, Manuel Escudero, Division Head of Networks, Partnerships and Gender Division of OECD Development Centre, Bathylle Missika, and the Ibero-American General Secretary, Rebeca Grynspan. Additionally, two female entrepreneurs served by BBVA Microfinance Foundation in Peru and Dominican Republic have also taken part.
“Dominican women are not (property) owners due to lack of knowledge. They lack information: they don’t know what type of documentation they need, and in most cases, they don’t even have their own document of identification, which is the first step to access a land title”, guaranteed Benita Hernández, a farmer and BBVAMF client who has travelled from Dominican Republic to share her experience. This woman, 63 years of age, started helping other female entrepreneurs gain access to loans, and now, she also works in an association that drives female farmers’ access to land ownership.
According to the Division Head of Networks, Partnerships and Gender Division of OECD Development Centre, Bathylle Missika, “the SIGI makes a call to not leave any woman nor girl behind: the weak implementation of laws and the persistence of discriminatory social norms are the main obstacles to reach gender equality in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2030.”
I requested my first loan without telling my husband. I felt free, independent and mistress of my life”
For Elisa Cuchupoma, the fact that she was not required her husband’s collateral to request a loan was what mainly caught her attention regarding the Foundation’s Peruvian MFI, “I received the loan without his signature, I didn’t tell him anything. He’s very apprehensive but I made myself responsible of the installments. I felt free, independent and mistress of my life”, she confirmed. This knitter makes handcrafted hair ornaments thanks to the “Palabra de Mujer” loan program. With this initiative, BBVAMF in Peru serves 90,000 women living under socio-economically vulnerable conditions and who have been able to access a group loan, which, aside from financial support, also provides advice on business and resource management.
“Studies show that if we eliminate the barriers to women’s economic empowerment, we are going to experience a more dynamic and inclusive growth, more equity and less poverty”, noted Ibero-American General Secretary, Rebeca Grynspan.
According to the 2019 SIGI, the level of gender-based discrimination in social institutions which include laws, social norms and practices in Latin America, is 25% (17% in Europe, the region with the highest level of equality, according to the index). One of the areas that need to be addressed is discrimination in family: women spend more than 4 hours and a half per day on household chores, or on family care (3 times more than the time men spend on the same tasks). In Spain, this proportion is 2.2, as indicated by the OECD.
The Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Spain to the OECD and chair of the OECD Development Centre’s Governing Board, Manuel Escudero, said that, “Spain is experiencing a huge transformation against gender inequality. The country is starting to be a feminist country and a defender for women’s rights. And there has been a lot of progress in the legal framework to reach gender equality in the household and work environment. However, there are still challenges to face should we want to put an end to the scourge of violence against women.”