In Jamaica, widespread violence constitutes a serious development challenge that affects men and women across generations. Young men and women are particularly at risk of experiencing violence, albeit in different forms and for different reasons.
For young women, sexual violence is a particular concern: 12% of women report having been forced to have sexual intercourse at some point in their lives, and nearly half of Jamaican women report that their first sexual intercourse was coerced in some way, e.g. through violence, threats, verbal insistence, deception, cultural expectations or economic circumstance (see Jamaica Reproductive Health Survey 2008-2009 for additional data) In line with global trends, Jamaican women who are sexually assaulted are likely to know their aggressors; 85% of young women who experienced forced first sexual relations reported that the perpetrator was a boyfriend.
Like their victims, perpetrators of sexual violence are also young. Official crime statistics show that 57% of perpetrators arrested for rape in 2007 were young males between 16 and 30 years of age, with the highest rates among 16-20 year olds. Similarly, the largest share of persons arrested for other forms of sexual violence in 2007 were males between 16 and 25 years.
How can we explain the high incidence of sexual violence among Jamaican youth?
Through the World Bank’s NextGENDERation Initiative, we have sought to understand whether and how social and gender norms shape youth decision-making and behaviors relating to violence. By listening to young people through focus groups, social media outreach as well as school and community-based engagements, our team has been able to gain more insight into the drivers and triggers of sexual violence among youth, and to provide them with a space to think critically about how gender roles and stereotypes affect their attitudes and actions with regard to dating, relationships and sex.
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Last Friday was International Women’s Day, but before adding to the general celebratory messages in cyberspace, I would like to tell you about a specific case that truly deserves to be celebrated.
If you are reading this blog while drinking coffee or after a coffee break, this story has to do with you.
- El Salvador
- Dominican Republic
- Costa Rica
- Bahamas, The
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Latin America & Caribbean
- Social Development
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- latin america
- International Women's Day
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How much is a jar of jam worth? A couple of pesos, at most. But for a group of women from a remote Guatemalan village, it’s worth its weight in gold. It has helped them develop as individuals and has made a significant contribution to their income and that of their community.
With a sweet voice that cracks with emotion, Blanca Estela, a single mother of four, tells us that making jam marked a turning point in her life. She is one of 30 women from Nueva Esperanza, a company that makes jams and sauces in San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala. The company has helped the women become independent in a society that continues to be patriarchal. It has also promoted local economic growth.
When I visited the women to make this video, they told me that the Rural Economic Development Program supported by the World Bank enabled them to open new markets and increase their earnings. “This is the dream of a lifetime. We’ve been able to develop as individuals and as businesswomen,” says Esperanza. It has turned these rural homemakers into businesswomen. They now serve as an example for the rest of the women and men in the village.
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Imagine that one day you are forced to leave your home with only the clothes on your back. You have no house, land, supplies, work or friends. You cannot return. The only thing you have left is your will to survive and to protect your family. You arrive in a new city to start from scratch. Everything seems overwhelming. You realize you have lost in two ways: as a woman and now as a displaced person.
This is the experience of millions of displaced women in Colombia, such as the ones we met at the Foundation for Development and Progress (FUNDESPRO) in Bogota.The Foundation works with the government to aid victims, especially women, of the Colombian civil conflict, as part of a World Bank initiative supported through the Peace and Development Program.
Being a woman in Latin America is no longer a synonym for scarce job and schooling opportunities. On the contrary, Latin American women have made remarkable progress over the recent decades in the labor -where 70 million additional women have got jobs— and in education, where they have outperform men, according to the World Bank’s study Work and Family: Latin America and the Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance.
To discuss the report I interviewed UNWomen’s and former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet. She told me that these days “gender equality” is a notion widely accepted in the region.
Igualdad (equality) is perhaps one of the most important words in our language and in our culture – it helps us build better societies and the well-being of future generations. However, in Latin America and many other parts of the world, it has different meanings for men and women.
For the past two decades, “opportunities for all” has been the maxim guiding the region’s public policy. But when we speak about gender equality, the urgency of this principle is questioned by many policy makers. The World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development confirms that gender equality is not only central to development, but a core development objective in its own right.