Gender Equality in Nicaragua

  • Edit
  • Discuss
  • History
From wikigender.org
Jump to: navigation, search




Nicaragua
flag_Nicaragua.png
Flag of Nicaragua
Population (in Mil.) 5.99
Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB) 10.64
Sex Ratio (m/f) 0.96
Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m) 1.084507042
Fertility Rate 2.12
Estimated Earned Income (f/m) 0.46
Tertiary Enrolment Ratio (f/m) 18
Women in Parliament (in %) 40.2
INDICES
Human Development Index 129/187
Social Institutions and Gender Index 37/86
Gender Inequality Index 129/186
Gender Equity Index 40/168
Women’s Economic Opportunity Index 83/128
Global Gender Gap Index 10/68
More information on variables
 

Social Institutions

One of the poorest countries in Latin America, Nicaragua became an independent state in 1838.[1] Following decades of political turmoil and conflict peace agreements were made in 1990. Since then, the country’s economy has struggled to recover, further exacerbated by a series of natural disasters.[2] Poverty and social inequality remain widespread in Nicaragua, and particularly affect the 30% of households that are headed by women.[3] Nicaragua is classed as a lower-middle income country by the World Bank.[4] The 1987 Constitution of Nicaragua grants equal civil rights to all citizens and prohibits gender-based discrimination.[5] The new Penal Code, adopted in 2001, introduced laws to prohibit and criminalise discriminatory acts.[6] However, Nicaragua amended the Code in 2006 to criminalize all forms of abortion, threatening women’s full access to sexual and reproductive health choices.[7] In 2007, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) noted its concern with the persistence and pervasiveness of patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes regarding women’s and men’s roles in the family and wider society.[8] This helps to limit normalise discrimination and violence against women, as well as limiting women’s economic opportunities, and their voice in public life.[9] The Committee also voiced its concern regarding the ongoing concentration of women in the maquiladora (garment assembly) industries, where low-pay and poor working conditions are the norm.[10] Nicaragua ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against women in 1981, but has not yet ratified the Optional Protocol.[11] The country ratified the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (‘Convention of Belém do Pará’) in 1995.[12] Nicaragua occupies 129th place in the 2011 Human Development Index (out of 187 countries with data), with a score of 0.589.[13] The country is ranked in 101st place in the Gender Inequality Index (out of 146 countries), with a score of 0.506.[14] Nicaragua is placed 27th in the Global Gender Gap Index for 2011, with a score of 0.7245 (out of 135 countries with data).[15]

Discriminatory Family Code

With parental authorisation, the minimum legal age for marriage is 14 years for women and 15 years for men. Without such authorisation, it rises to 18 years for women and 21 years for men.[16] Data from 2005 indicates that 28.4% of girls aged 15-19 were married, divorced or widowed, compared to 7.8% of boys in the same age range. This represents a decrease from 1995 where 32.2% of girls and 9.5% of boys aged 15-19 were married, divorced or widowed.[17] There is no evidence that that polygamy is legal in Nicaragua, or is a common practice in Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan Constitution states that family relations should be based on respect, solidarity and the absolute equality of rights and responsibilities for men and women.[18] Legislation on parent-child relations grants mothers and fathers equal rights with regard to parental authority, and to the education and care of their children.[19] However, according to the 2005 report to the CEDAW committee, the Civil Code still contains provisions naming the father as head of household, and representative of the family.[20] It is unclear whether women and men enjoy equal rights in regard to divorce, and whether decisions in regard to child custody typically favour the mother or the father. It appears that women can pass Nicaraguan citizenship onto their children.[21] As for inheritance, the Constitution grants Nicaraguan men and women the same rights to inherit family-owned properties. As yet, this right is not enforceable by law.[22]

Restricted Physical Integrity

All forms of rape are crimes under the current law regardless of the relationship between perpetrator and victim. According to the US Department of State’s human rights report, the law is generally enforced, but many victims do not press charges for fear of social stigma, retribution, or loss of economic security.[23] Further, the law requires victims to undergo medical exams before a legal case can be constructed, but the country lacks sufficient forensic examiners to handle the caseload, causing many women to drop their cases.[24] The law criminalizes domestic violence with possible penalties of up to six years’ imprisonment, and also allows police to issue restraining orders in cases where women fear for their safety.[25] However, the US Department of State notes that local NGOs have expressed concern regarding the number of cases of domestic violence resolved through mediation rather than the courts, denying women access to justice and leading to repeated abuse.[26] Under Nicaragua’s Penal Code, sexual harassment is punishable between one and three years in prison, or between three to five years if the victim is under 18.[27] A concerted effort to encourage the victims of violence to press charges appears to have been successful; the number of cases reported rose by one-third between 2001 and 2002; the number of reported cases in 2009 by the Nicaraguan National Police was similar to that reported in 2002.[28] However, according to the US Department of State, the Nicaraguan National Police believe that domestic violence remains widely under-reported, and a study by the Supreme Judicial Council’s Institute of Forensic Medicine concluded that 70% of women in Nicaragua were victims of domestic violence.[29] A 2008 Demographic and Health Survey found that given five reasons why a man might be justified in hitting his wife, nearly 14% of women agreed with at least one of them, representing a 3% decline from 2001 results. Contradictorily, 25% of women who reported that they had the final say on some household decisions appeared in this group.[30]

The general level of public insecurity has risen in Nicaragua, and one consequence is a higher incidence of rape. According to police statistics, 1, 276 cases of rape were reported in 2010, although it is not known how many of these cases resulted in prosecution and conviction.[31] Several governmental agencies reported increases in female homicides and reports of sexual violence in 2008, although the rise in the number of reports may be attributable to public campaigns to increase awareness.[32]

Nicaragua has also seen cases of ‘femicide’ – the murder of women because they are women.[33] According to an article published in Gender & Development journal in 2007 looking at the phenomenon across the region, feminicides represent the ultimate form of gender-based violence, ‘that is intrinsically linked to deeply entrenched gender inequality and discrimination, economic disempowerment, and aggressive or machismo masculinity.’[34] In Nicaragua, levels of femicide are not as high as elsewhere in the region, although according to the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network (LACWHN), rates are rising, with a 68% increase from 2007 to 2008.[35] In addition, in most cases of feminicide in Nicaragua, the perpetrator is the woman’s partner, in contrast to other countries in the region, where gang violence is thought to play more of a part.[36] Female genital mutilation does not appear to be practised in Nicaragua. Since 2006, abortion has been illegal in all circumstances in Nicaragua.[37] This includes cases where the health of the woman and/or fetus is at risk, and proposes jail sentences for doctors who assist women in the procurement of an abortion.[38] In its 2007 concluding comments on Nicaragua, the CEDAW committee expressed its concern that lack of access to legal and safe abortion services was contributing to the high rates of maternal mortality in the country.[39]

There is no law in Nicaragua specifically establishing the right of women in Nicaragua to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of children they want to have,[40] although in practice, this right does appear to be respected, in regard to access to contraception and information about family planning and reproductive health.[41] Knowledge of modern methods of contraception is nearly universal among all Nicaraguan women, and usage rates are rising rapidly.[42] Over 71% of women married or in union reported current use of a modern method of contraception, compared to 44% in 2001.[43] The number of women using injectable contraceptives explains much of this increase; this method is most popular among poorer women who receive contraceptives from nonprofit groups such as Profamilia.[44] The 2007 CEDAW report notes however that access to reproductive health services for Indigenous and Afro-descendant woman, women living in rural areas, and teenage women remains inadequate and inappropriate.[45]

Son Bias

According to data from the 2006-2007 DHS, 72.6% of boys and 70.5% of girls under the age of two had received all their basic vaccinations.[46] Rates of under-five mortality were lower for girls than for boys, and rates of malnutrition were slightly higher for boys than for girls.[47] Overall, this would not indicate son preference in regard to early childhood care. Gender-disaggregated data regarding child labour was not available. According to UNICEF, net primary school enrolment rates are 92% for girls and boys, while attendance rates are higher for girls.[48] At secondary level, enrolment and attendance rates are higher for girls than for boys.[49] This would not indicate son preference in regard to access to education. The male/female sex ratio for the total population in 2012 is 0.96.[50]

There is no evidence to suggest that Nicaragua is a country of concern in relation to missing women.

Restricted Resources and Entitlements

Recent advances have improved women’s ownership rights in Nicaragua, but discrimination remains. Land reform measures gave women the right to obtain access to land, and they now own about one-fifth of the country’s agricultural units.[51] However, their plots are generally smaller than those owned by men, and in reality, less than one-half of Nicaragua’s female landowners have total control over the use of their land. Since the Civil Code was adopted in 1904, Nicaraguan women have had the same capacity as men to gain access to property other than land. Women are entitled to sign contracts and to administer property.[52] A 1997 amendment to a law on property stability allowed couples to own joint property, thereby improving women’s access to property other than land.[53] There is no legal restriction on women’s access to bank loans, but discrimination does occur. Access to bank loans is low for the population as a whole but women have more difficulty borrowing and are typically granted smaller sums than men.[54] Although the number of private and public banks offering loans to women is growing, about one-third of women in Nicaragua apply to micro-credit institutions and NGOs, and many others go to individual lenders.[55]

Restricted Civil Liberties

Article 31 of the Constitution guarantees women freedom of movement, but the Civil Code states that married women must live in the residence of their husbands’ choosing.[56] Freedom of speech, assembly and association are protected by law, but not respected in practice.[57] Women’s rights NGOs are active and vocal in Nicaragua, and in particular, have campaigned against the country’s new abortion laws.[58] One such group, the Autonomous Women’s Movement, was one of 17 human rights NGOs that were investigated in 2008 under what are considered to have been politically-motivated charges of embezzlement and money-laundering; all charges were dropped in February 2009, due to lack of evidence.[59]

Women and men enjoy the same right to vote and stand for election in Nicaragua.[60] According to the 2005 CEDAW report, both the two main political parties have introduced quotas to increase women’s representation; however, the report notes that women wishing to enter politics still face prejudice, and a lack of support from party structures.[61] As of 2010, 17 of the 92 positions in Nicaragua’s unicameral National Assembly were held by women.[62] In addition, four of the 16 seats on the Supreme Court of Justice five of the 13 Cabinet posts were held by women.[63]

Nicaragua offers women 12 weeks of total paid maternity leave that pays recipients 100% of the insured’s average earnings in the last four weeks before the birth of her child.60% of her benefits are paid from a national social security system, with the remainder provided by her employer. Nicaraguan law also prohibits dangerous work for pregnant women and compels employers to transfer any to a position that would have no effect on her pregnancy. In addition, a woman who is pregnant or on leave cannot be terminated without a valid reason related to her work, and are guaranteed their old jobs back upon return from leave.[64] However, the national Social Security Institute only covers about 10% of the national population.[65] In particular, women working in the informal economy have no access to social security benefits, and women working in the maquiladoras are often unable to enjoy their labour rights, and are forced to work in difficult and dangerous conditions.[66]

References

  1. Freedom House (2010) ‘Freedom in the World country reports: Nicaragua’, http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=22&year=2010&country=7888 (accessed 23 November 2011); BBC (n.d.) ‘Nicaragua country profile’, BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/country_profiles/1225218.stm (accessed 23 November 2011)
  2. BBC (n.d.) ‘Nicaragua country profile’, BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/country_profiles/1225218.stm (accessed 23 November 2011)
  3. Instituto Nacional de Información de Desarrollo (INIDE), Ministerio de Salud (MINSA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2008), Encuesta Nicaragüense de Demografía y Salud ENDESA 2006/07, INIDE, MINSA, and CDC: Managua, Nicaragua and Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Table 3.2.1.
  4. World Bank (n.d.) ‘Data: Nicaragua’, Washington, D.C.: World Bank, http://data.worldbank.org/country/nicaragua (accessed 22 November 2011)
  5. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (2005), Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Nicaragua, Sixth Periodic Report of States Parties, CEDAW/C/NIC/6, CEDAW, New York, NY, p. 8-10.
  6. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (2005), Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Nicaragua, Sixth Periodic Report of States Parties, CEDAW/C/NIC/6, CEDAW, New York, NY, p. 11.
  7. Article 165 of the Penal Code repealed in Asociación para el Apoyo de la Nueva Familia en Nicaragua et al., (2008), p. 4.
  8. CEDAW (2007) Concluding comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Nicaragua, CEDAW/C/NIC/CO/6, CEDAW, New York, p.3
  9. See Reference 8, pp.4-6
  10. See Reference 8, p.6
  11. United Nations Treaty Collection (UNTC) (2010): Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women, countries ratified. - CEDAW: http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-8&chapter=4&lang=en (accessed 22 November 2011) - Optional Protocol: http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-8-b&chapter=4&lang=en (accessed 22 November)
  12. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) (n.d.) Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (‘Convention of Belém do Pará’) – status of ratification, http://www.cidh.oas.org/Basicos/English/Basic14.Conv%20of%20Belem%20Do%20Para%20Ratif.htm (accessed 23 November 2011)
  13. United Nations Development Programme (2011) Human Development Report 2011, available at http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2011_EN_Complete.pdf, accessed 29 February 2012.p.129
  14. United Nations Development Programme (2011) Human Development Report 2011, available at http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2011_EN_Complete.pdf, accessed 29 February 2012.p.141
  15. World Economic Forum (2011) The Global Gender Gap Report 2011, available at http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GenderGap_Report_2011.pdf, accessed 2 March 2012 p.10
  16. See Reference 6, p. 49.
  17. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2008) World Marriage Data 2008, available at http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/WMD2008/Main.html, accessed 10 October 2010.
  18. Article 73 of the Constitution in Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (2005), Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Nicaragua, Sixth Periodic Report of States Parties, CEDAW/C/NIC/6, CEDAW, New York, NY, pp. 48-49.
  19. See Reference 6, p. 49.
  20. See Reference 6, p.49
  21. See Reference 6, p.20
  22. See Reference 6, p. 10, 21, 49.
  23. US Department of State (2011), 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nicaragua, US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Washington, DC. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/wha/154513.htm (accessed 23 November 2011)
  24. See reference 23
  25. See reference 23
  26. See reference 23
  27. US Department of State (2010), 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nicaragua, US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Washington, DC.
  28. See Reference 6, p. 50. US Department of State (2010), 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nicaragua, US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Washington, DC.
  29. See reference 23
  30. See reference 3, Table 3.23 and Table 13.2.
  31. See reference 23
  32. See reference 27
  33. Prieto-Carrón, Marina, Marilyn Thomson, and Mandy Macdonald (2007) ‘No more killings! Women respond to femicides in Central America’, Gender & Development, vol.15, no.1, p.25
  34. Reference 34, p.26
  35. Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network (LACWHN) (2010) ‘or Women’s Access to Justice in the Mesoamerican Region’, 5 November 2010, http://www.reddesalud.org/news/act1_int.php?id=188 (accessed 23 November 2011)
  36. Reference 34, p.25
  37. UN (2011) ‘World Abortion Policies 2011’, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, New York. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/2011abortion/2011wallchart.pdf
  38. Asociación de Mujeres Profesionales por el Desarrollo Integral et al. (2005), CEDAW Shadow Report Nicaragua, Asociación de Mujeres Profesionales por el Desarrollo Integral: Managua, Nicaragua, p. 6-7; Human Rights Watch (HRW) (2007), Over Their Dead Bodies: Denial of Access to Emergency Obstetric Care and Therapeutic Abortion in Nicaragua. HRW New York, NY, p. 6-14.
  39. See Reference 8, p.4
  40. See Reference 6, p.49
  41. See reference 23
  42. Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos (INEC), Ministerio de Salud (MINSA), and Macro International, Ltd. (2002), Encuesta Nicaragüense de Demografía y Salud 2001, INEC, MINSA, and Macro International :Managua, Nicaragua and Calverton, Maryland, Table 5.1.
  43. See reference 3, Table 5.4; INEC et al. (2002), Table 5.4.2.
  44. See reference 3, Table 5.8; p. 11.
  45. See Reference 8, p.4
  46. See reference 3, table 9.9
  47. See reference 3, tables 8.3, 10.9.1
  48. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (n.d.) ‘Nicaragua – statistics’, http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/nicaragua_statistics.html (accessed 23 November 2011)
  49. Reference 48
  50. Central Intelligence Agency (2012) The World Fact Book: Sex Ratio, available at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2018.html, accessed 29 February 2012.
  51. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) (2004), Nicaragua: Country Gender Profile, JICA, Tokyo, p. 58.
  52. See Reference 6, p. 45-47.
  53. Lastarria-Cornhiel, S., S. Agurto, J. Brown and S.E. Rosales (2003), Joint Titling in Nicaragua, Indonesia and Honduras, Rapid Appraisal Synthesis, Land Tenure Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, p. 6-8.
  54. See Reference 6, p. 40-42.
  55. Deugd, M. (2002), Microfinance and Gender in Nicaragua, Embassy of the Netherlands in Nicaragua., p. 1.
  56. See Reference 6, p. 48.
  57. Freedom House (2010) ‘Freedom in the World country reports: Nicaragua’, http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=22&year=2010&country=7888 (accessed 23 November 2011)
  58. Reference 57
  59. Reference 57
  60. See Reference 6, p.17
  61. See Reference 6, p.17
  62. Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) (2010), Women in Parliament: All Countries on National Parliaments, IPU, Geneva, http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm.
  63. See reference 27
  64. International Labour Organization (ILO) (2009), Database of Conditions of Work and Employment Laws, ILO, Geneva, Switzerland, accessed 25 February 2010.
  65. See Reference 6, p. 40
  66. See Reference 8, p.6

The Women, Business and the Law

Where are laws equal for men and women? 

The Women, Business and the Law report presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women's economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.

For detailed information on Nicaragua, please visit the Women, Business and
the Law Nicaragua
page.

Sources

The FAO Gender and Land Rights Database

FAO logo.jpg

The FAO Gender and Land Rights Database contains country level information on social, economic, political and cultural issues related to the gender inequalities embedded in those rights. Disparity on land access is one of the major causes for social and gender inequalities in rural areas, and it jeopardizes, as a consequence, rural food security as well as the wellbeing of individuals and families.

Six categories

The Database offers information on the 6 following Categories:

  • National legal frame
  • International treaties and conventions
  • Customary law 
  • Land tenure and related Institutions
  • Civil society organizations
  • Selected Land Related Statistics

For detailed information on Nicaragua, please visit the report on Nicaragua in the FAO Gender and Land Rights Database.

Sources

External Links


Article Information
Wikiprogress Wikichild Wikigender University Wikiprogress.Stat ProgBlog Latin America Network African Network eFrame