Rapid Gender Analysis in Honduras: an Overview in the Face of COVID-19 and Eta / lota

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Executive Summary

The Honduran population, multiethnic and essentially female (51.7%), cohabits in a country that has been ranked as one of the most unequal countries in Latin America in terms of development (Gender Inequality Index of 0.479 versus HDI 0.611), and with a gender gap of 27.8%, according to the World Economic Forum. This condition of inequality particularly affects women and girls, but also the population living in poverty, and the population exposed to any condition of vulnerability, whether physical, psychological, social, environmental, economic, or structural.

As a result, this population lives in conditions of poverty and inequality that directly influence the deepening of aspects related to the feminization of poverty; limitations in access to basic services, resources, economic opportunities, and decent employment (livelihoods); vulnerability to violence, especially Gender Based Violence (GBV); and the continuity of the gender gap that exists in terms of participation at the organizational or political level.

This situation has been aggravated by the circumstances generated in Honduras by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has registered 164,495 cases nationwide, and by the devastation caused by Eta and Iota that affected more than 4 million people, and which have uncovered the conditions of violence and vulnerability to which women and girls in Honduras are exposed.

Among the adverse effects caused by both crises, those that will affect indicators or structural conditions related to the feminization of poverty or that have a direct impact on risk or protective factors for gender-based violence are of particular concern. Among the factors that have been affected, and that were evidenced in the Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA) conducted by CARE Honduras and UN Women, the following are the most relevant:

a) In terms of income and livelihoods, the business network has been weakened, small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, which has led to job losses, reduced working hours, precarious working conditions, reduced incomes and increased labor demand. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of people who have joined the informal sector, especially women, and value chains have been weakened as well.

b) In the division of unpaid domestic work, the time spent on unpaid domestic chores and care work has increased for women (+4 hours). Also, women have seen a reduction in their already weakened control over asset or patrimonial resources, which they have used to survive the crises.

c) In terms of the vulnerability of specific groups, it has become evident that the groups most exposed to economic violence or labor mistreatment are domestic and maquila workers; while sex workers are exposed to the loss of their main livelihood.

d) In terms of access to human rights, essential healthcare services for children's health, attention of non-communicable diseases and sexual and reproductive health have been weakened or suspended, especially those related to family planning, control of pregnant and lactating women, and treatment of people living with HIV. Classes have been suspended in whole or in part, which will have an impact on deepening the problem in areas such as educational coverage and quality, school dropout rates, development of life skills; food insecurity has increased, especially in municipalities with greater vulnerability to this problem; and there are more limitations to access to and coverage of drinking water, latrines and sewage systems in rural and peri-urban communities.

e) With regards to security and protection, the pandemic has highlighted, deepened, or evidenced violence against women and girls, especially in the manifestations of direct violence and in those of a cultural and structural nature that have an impact on aspects such as social protection for victims of violence and prevention with groups in situations of vulnerability. One of the manifestations that has shown the greatest increase is domestic and intra-family violence, and there has also been an increase in femicides committed in the private sphere.

In summary, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eta and Iota will have negative effects on the achievement of the SDGs, especially those related to ending poverty, healthcare and well-being, quality education, gender equality, access to water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, and the reduction of inequalities. In addition, they have shaken social dynamics and uncovered conditions of violence and vulnerability to which women, girls and other vulnerable groups in Honduras are exposed.