Empowering women to overcome factors of structural violence in Latin America
Throughout the developing world, young men and women face high unemployment coupled with strong feelings of dissatisfaction with their quality of life in contexts of weak governance and institutions, increased political instability, and growing state authoritarianism — factors that render societies vulnerable and play a role in radicalization. Predominant strategies to counter these phenomena remain state-centered, with limited participation of civil society stakeholders. Populations who suffer most from this violence, insecurity, and lack of civic engagement, such as young men and women, continue to be largely excluded from participating in policy and governance related decisions. But youth are active in an array of movements associated with emerging social, economic, cultural, and political issues.
In Latin America, one dimension of violence is associated with the obstacles women face when seeking to actively participate in public affairs. This type of political violence hinders the possibility of women to influence and/or directly act on policies or actions that could potentially solve other dimensions of violence such as physical, racial, or sexual. Women and other gender minorities within the LGBTI community face a double challenge when addressing these issues, because political representation is simultaneously limited by discriminatory barriers and by the collapse of the traditional structures of political representation, such as political parties.
Supported by Asuntos del Sur, a think tank based in Argentina, this project aims to test and refine an approach that builds the leadership capacities of young women in Latin America, especially in the areas of sexual and gender-based violence. The aim is to develop monitoring and evaluation capacities and tools within the organization to test their approach in terms of efficiency, sustainability, and impact. It will consist of a research agenda aimed at identifying, understanding, and systematizing innovative political processes that focus on eradicating structural factors of violence against women; pursuing strategies that increase the empowerment of young women; nurturing regional innovation by disseminating experiences, tools, and concepts learned; and by participating in regional networks such as the Organization of American States.
This project is part of a cluster of projects, “Giving youth a voice: promoting spaces for civic engagement, inclusion, and violence reduction in South Asia and Latin America”, launched in June 2017.