Women in Ecuador

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Women in Ecuador
Bolsicona o llapanga quiteña.jpg
A portrait of a woman from Ecuador, 1867
Gender Inequality Index[1]
Value 0.429 (2013)
Rank 82nd out of 152
Maternal mortality (per 100,000) 110 (2010)
Women in parliament 38.7% (2013)
Females over 25 with secondary education 40.1% (2012)
Women in labour force 54.4% (2012)
Global Gender Gap Index[2]
Value 0.7389 (2013)
Rank 25th out of 144

Women in Ecuador are generally responsible for the upbringing and care of children and families; traditionally, men have not taken an active role. Ever more women have been joining the workforce, which has resulted in men doing some housework, and becoming more involved in the care of their children. This change has been greatly influenced by Eloy Alfaro's liberal revolution in 1906, in which Ecuadorian women were granted the right to work. Women's suffrage was granted in 1929.

Girls tend to be more protected by their parents than boys, due to traditional social structures. At age 15, girls often have traditional parties called fiesta de quince años. Quinceañera is the term used for the girl, not the party. The party involves festive food and dance. This coming of age or debutante party is a tradition found in most Latin American countries, comparable to the American tradition of sweet sixteen parties.

Ecuadorian women continue for face many problems, including domestic violence, poverty and lack of proper access to healthcare.


Women, especially rural women, are disproportionately affected by poverty. Women are more likely to be unemployed.[3] Poverty and malnutrition are most likely to affect women, as well as young children and indigenous populations.[4][5] Discrimination based on ethnicity interacts with discrimination based on sex, resulting in very high levels of poverty for indigenous and black women.[6]


School girls in Ecuador
Spinning woman in a market in Ecuador

Girls traditionally have been less likely to be formally educated than men. Traditional gender roles lead women towards 'female jobs', such as nursing and teaching, which are underpaid and underappreciated.[7] Women still have a lower literacy rate than men: as of 2011, the literacy rate was 90.2% female and 93.1% male.[8] In recent years, several programs have promoted education for the indigenous girls and women.[9]

Reproductive health[edit]

Poor information and access to contraceptive methods often lead to unwanted pregnancies, especially among teenage girls and young women.[10] The maternal mortality rate in Ecuador is 110 deaths/100,000 live births (as of 2010).[11] The HIV/AIDS rate is 0.6% for adults (aged 15-49), as of 2012 estimates.[12] Abortion in Ecuador is illegal, with only few exceptions for special circumstances. According to a Human Rights Watch report, legal abortion is usually denied to women, even in the case of rape.[13] In recent years, being confronted with the highest teenage pregnancy rate in South America, Ecuador has decided to liberalize its policy regarding contraception, including emergency contraception. [14]

Domestic violence[edit]

Domestic violence against women is a very serious problem.[15] La Ley Contra la Violencia a la Mujer y la Familia[16] (Law on Violence against Women and the Family) deals with domestic violence. In addition, a new Criminal Code came into force in 2014, which also addresses domestic violence.[17]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]