Equality Issues for Women in Guatemala
A closer look at political and economic inequality
Adam L. Marré
United Nations Suggestions
Women’s Labor Participation
Business and Women
Unpaid Housework and Childcare
Discrimination, a lack of resources, long working hours, and low education levels are the primary effects of inequality for women. This is the principle case for Guatemalan women. Since women are the backbone of any community, not allowing women to be equal, attain resources, and work normal hours along with having a better education is preventing Guatemalan women from building their country's democracy and a more prosperous future for their country. Women in Guatemala are disenfranchised socially, rather than politically. Guatemalan women have attained civil rights legislatively, but these rights are not respected, even with the laws put in place to ensure these rights. The primary reason for this inequality is a lack of respect of Guatemalan women by both themselves and the men that are in their families and in their country. The heavy patriarchal culture that runs Guatemala makes it normal for women to stay at home starting at a very young age. This is a primary cause of Guatemalan women being prevented from participating in society. By allowing this to continue, Guatemala is reinforcing a gender-based division of labor. Along with this division of labor, Guatemala may continue to see 50 percent poverty levels in the future. Guatemala Background
The population of Guatemala is 13 million, which is the largest of any country in Central America. In 2006, a statistical report given by the United Nations showed that of those 13 million people, half of them live in poverty, while 15.5% live in extreme poverty. Income disparity also remains highly unequal with more than half of the population below the national poverty line and just over 400,000, or 3.2% of its nation, unemployed.
Many of the jobs are in the agriculture sector, which is vital to the growth of the Guatemalan economy. Agricultural output grew by 3.1 percent in 2003, up from 1.8 percent in 2002. Growth was supported by higher harvests of their chief exports: cardamom (35 percent), coffee (18.5 percent), fruits (3.9 percent), beans (1.5 percent), maize (1.1 percent), and vegetables (0.6 percent).
The pace of real GDP growth picked up markedly in 2006. GDP grew by 4.6% in 2006, compared with a 3.2% expansion in 2005. This is the highest rate of annual growth since 1998. A favorable external environment, public spending growth and historically low local interest rates have boosted the economy. Economic growth in the US, China and Central American countries has increased demand for Guatemalan exports. Private investment has been enjoying the opportunities arising from the Dominican Republic-Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the US. Continued growth in workers' remittances, which were 20.6% higher year on year, and a strong increase in private-sector credit, which grew by 28.8% year on year (following a rise of 21.6% in 2005), have fuelled domestic demand.
Even with this good showing of GDP growth and increased agricultural output, other statistics present that Guatemala has a long way to develop as a country, which is partially why its women face such difficult lives every day. One of the shocking issues of Guatemala is its maternal mortality rate of 148.8 per 100,000 childbirths. This is very high in comparison to the regional average of 82. In addition, children between two and sixty months have a malnutrition rate of 49 percent, while the average malnutrition rate in Central America is 22 percent. Along with these issues, women also are not represented in politics and are their...
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