Women in Ecuador --The Road To Equality
The United Nations works for men and women to benefit from the same rights, opportunities and conditions. This year the theme of International Women's Day was “A Promise Is A Promise: Time For Action To End Violence Against Women.”
Little Haydee went with her mother to a meeting of her small-scale farmers association with WFP to agree on sales of fresh products for schools in Imbabura, Ecuador. Haydee did not hesitate to taste the samples of products brought in by the Nukanchi Maqui Association ("Our Hand" in Kichwa). UN agencies also work with the public to identify the forms gender violence can take (psychological, patrimonial, physical, sexual) as it daily affects women.
Camila, 9, holds Neymar after his mom has finished breastfeeding him. Very much like in the rest of the country and the world, in the Esmeraldas province girls help their mothers to look after younger siblings. This picture and 31 others can be seen in the main hall of the Sucumbios Decentralized Autonomous Provincial Government in Lago Agrio.
In the Carchi Province, these girls and their classmates have learned to eat more vegetables and fruits thanks to the local purchases and school gardens promoted by WFP. Both Ecuadorian and Colombian refugee mothers appreciate the fact that their children have better diets.
WFP and the Provincial Government of Imbabura have helped improve children's diets with fresh food. Parents receive training on how to improve the family diet. WFP emphasizes women empowerment in all activities in Ecuador.
Indigenous women living in rural areas face a triple workload: working the land, domestic tasks and taking care of children. Throughout Ecuador, rural and urban areas summed up, women work 14 to 20 hours a week more than men do. The challenge: having partners assume an equal share in domestic tasks.
Many indigenous women do not pursue their education after primary school. Although today young women have better opportunities, more emphasis is needed in their education. In small-scale farmer meetings, most women usually remain silent and listen; however, when the conversation shifts to Kichwa language, all of them have something to say.
The poorest families are forced to invent spaces for living. In San Lorenzo, in the border with Colombia, Ecuadorian and Colombian families have built houses and makeshift boardwalks over the water. Many asylum-seeking women arrive from Colombia with no partner and with several children at their charge. WFP food assistance helps them endure these harsh conditions.
WFP, UN Women and other UN agencies in Ecuador work for the empowerment of women. To mark International Women's Day, a photo exhibit was organized by WFP with photos from various agencies to be shown nationwide during 2013.