Indigenous people and women's representation in Latin America.
The indigenous rights movement has made significant strides in Latin America over the last few decades, but indigenous women across the continent remain sorely underrepresented in political decision-making.
Indigenous activists brought this problem into the spotlight during the First Congress of Indigenous Parliamentarians of America (IPA) held in Panama last week, calling for continued progress in the representation of indigenous women in politics.
The congress, organized by the IPA and the United Nations Development Program, had representatives from 18 countries across the continent, including Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, Paraguay and Venezuela.
Nicaraguan parliamentarian Evelyn Patricia was one of the spokeswoman who highlighted the underrepresentation of women in political spheres. Nicaragua is among the top 10 nations in the world for having the highest female representation in parliament, along with the Latin American countries Mexico, Ecuador and Bolivia, which leads the region in female parliamentary representation.
In spite of the nation’s progress, Patricia said to Spanish news agency Efe, women need to continue to make progress if they are to see true political parity.
“Before, women were seen as objects, not as thinking beings,” she said. “Now, we have equal rights and opportunities, and must change our roles [in society].”
Many women in Latin America face discrimination when it comes to maintaining even basic human rights. This discrimination is even more of an obstacle for indigenous women, and still more magnified for indigenous women who are poor, creating what some have called the threat of “triple discrimination.”