International Women's Day

Today in El Salvador on International Women's Day, various protest marches challenged the violence and inequality which subjugate women and girls.  Some of my posts from the last year involving the rights of women and girls illustrate the many areas where change is needed:
The names of femicide victims were called out this morning in central San Salvador:

One emblematic case from the past year involved the killing of Karla Turcios, a Salvadoran journalist, murdered by her boyfriend.   He was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison.   The important point of this case was not a successful prosecution, but the fact that such outcomes are so rare in a country with the highest rate of femicides in the world.

As Mneesha Gellman wrote in Landmark Femicide Case Fails to Fix El Salvador’s Patriarchy
This message of consequence-free male domination, when coupled with the reality of a weak central government that does not have a monopoly on violence, means that the state cannot protect its citizens.

The Salvadoran Congress can pass high-minded human rights laws to obtain international respectability – and it should, because creating such legal framework is part of the incremental work of system-building – yet the reality remains that El Salvador is currently unable to guarantee the human rights of many women and girls to their physical integrity.
The pervasiveness of  gender-based violence is demonstrated in this video from Vice Land:

But as we commemorate International Women's Day, we should celebrate the the many incredible Salvadoran women who play important roles day in and day out.   Just a few examples:

Finally, one way you can help women thrive in El Salvador is to support the women's entrepreneurship program at Programa Velasco.  This program provides training and support to empower women working as informal street vendors.   Learn more here.