For this week’s activity post, I decided to look at the education and treatment of women in Peru. According to the UK-based charity called Project Peru, 33.7% of women are illiterate in rural areas, as compared to 10.9% of men. Illiterate means that they are unable to read or write. One article I found also mentions that it has been suggested that educating women in Peru alters the traditional power of balance in the household – meaning that it takes the power away from the man and if women are educated, shows a more equal power balance or even more power towards the women, which is strongly against societal views. It is shown from the Peru Reports website that indigenous women have much more limited access to basic education, and even though Peru is one of the more prosperous countries, there is still a lack of basic education available. People in Peru believe that the real challenge isn’t just educating women and giving them the same employment opportunities as the men in the society, but the main challenge they are facing is the attitudes of the society overall, to create a culture of respect towards women. For example,El Comerico wrote that if a woman in Peru was wearing a mini skirt in public and happened to get assaulted, that they would be to blame because of their choice in outfit.
On a different note, educating women in Peru could be looked at as a good thing, outside of the unequal power argument. Findings from numerous studies show a positive association between maternal education and child survival in developing countries. If a woman is educated, she can better understand the use of modern health-care services, and alters their beliefs about disease causation and the cure for these diseases. Schooling is seen as an enhancement in the mother’s ability to communicate with health-care providers and increases the value she places on good health, which results in a higher demand for good modern health-care services within the country.
Women in Peru are also more likely to drop out of school to presume the role as a caregiver, whether that be to their own kid, to their younger siblings or any younger child in their community. The Inter Press Service News Agency interviews a girl named Sena, who reports that an average of four girls a year would drop out of her class to be mothers. This is because the Peruvian law only allows abortions if the life of the mother is at risk, and doesn’t cover abortions that are due to rape. However, just because these laws are in place, doesn’t mean that the abortions are not happening. There are posters in public places around the community offering abortions for as much as around $200, and often not performed by medical professionals, resulting to complications in over 70% of abortions.
The Inter Press Service News Agency also reports that only 43% of young rural women between the ages of 20 and 24 have finished secondary school, compared to 58% of men between the ages of 20 and 24. They say that while access to education is growing, it is harder for some communities to send a girl or young woman to school, and would much rather give the opportunity of education to a man. Geographic conditions are another factor of why such a low percentage of girls finish school. Several girls will drop out because their classes were only given in the afternoon, and it is a long and dangerous walk to return home after dark. At the preschool level, 66.3% of urban children between the ages of 3 and 5 are in preschool, while only 55% of children in rural areas between the ages of 3 and 5 are in preschool.
The quality of education is also lacking. It is reported that not all teachers are really familiar with the subjects they’re teaching, and the students often have to work around the teacher’s personal schedule, as they often miss class to run personal errands. Another student that was interviewed for the Inter Press Service News Agency article said that she had to attend a special academy to catch up on her math and verbal reasoning skills that she didn’t receive a proper education on at her school, skills that she needed to enter a university. Another problem with the quality of education is that there is an inadequate availability of Bilingual Intercultural Education, which is essential for indigenous girls who don’t speak Spanish, making it even more difficult for them to learn once they get the opportunity to sit in a classroom.
As for treatment of women in Peru, the Center for Peruvian Women Flora Tristan feminist institute says that of the men convicted for femicide or violence towards women, 76.7% receive shorter prison terms than the legal requirement. Violence towards women is often reported in Peru, but nothing is really done about it.
Elo, Irma T. “Utilization of Maternal Health-Care Services in Peru: the Role of Women’s Education.” Health Transition Review, vol. 2, no. 1, 1992, pp. 49–69. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40652032.
Jenner, Frances. “’Justice for All Women’ as Peru Celebrates International Women’s Day.” Peru Reports, 7 Mar. 2018, perureports.com/2018/03/08/peru-womens-day/.
“PERU: Rural Girls Face Barriers to Education.” Outsourcing Jobs, Insourcing Labour & Increasing Profits | Inter Press Service, Inter Press Service, 16 Feb. 2011, www.ipsnews.net/2011/02/peru-rural-girls-face-barriers-to-education/.