ParticiPaz Honduras: a project in favor of women's equality and political participation


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Photo: UN Women Honduras

In 2009, 2013, and 2017, political dynamics in Honduras were conflictive during electoral processes. This conflict was expressed through social mobilizations and political organizations that often turned violent.   

International organizations indicated concern about the use of force, threats, violence, and criminalization that impacted human rights violations of the population by government actors.   

One of the main crises of political conflict arose over the legitimacy of the presidential figure after a controversial and questioned electoral process in 2017. For 2021, a similar electoral scenario was expected.  

There have also historically been significant barriers faced by women, youth, and other underrepresented groups to participate, assert their rights, channel their demands, access spaces of power, perform social oversight and enhance their contribution to constructing a culture of peace.  

Gender equality has been a significant challenge for development in Honduras. Women, in their intersectionality, face different forms of inequality in the private and public spheres. For example, Honduras ranks third lowest in Latin America on the Gender Inequality Index. For years the gender wage gap in the government sector was 30%, and it ranks1 second in Latin America with a femicide rate of 5.1 per 100,000 women. In Honduras, only 22% of parliamentary positions in the National Congress were previously held by women (below regional levels of female parliamentary participation). These conditions (among others) limit women's opportunities for social, economic, and political participation. 

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Photo: UN Women Honduras

Given these barriers that women face for citizen and political participation, with funding from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), UN Women developed the ParticiPaz project to strengthen women's capacities to increase their participation in electoral processes as candidates and observers.  

Efforts were made to improve women's political participation in the 2021 electoral process. Now that this has ended, ParticiPaz focuses on accompanying elected women to periodically incorporate the gender approach in governmental management and continue to increase the quantity and quality of women's participation in political affairs. 

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Photo: UN Women Honduras

Through the ParticiPaz project, significant reforms have been achieved that encourage greater participation of women in both the legislative and administrative spheres, through affirmative actions of parity and alternation in the Electoral Law, including mandatory alternation from the first ballot box, increased resources to promote women's political leadership and the requirement of gender policy to political parties.

Photo: UN Women Honduras

Likewise, the obligation has been established for political parties to report and allocate 15% of their financial resources to develop actions to promote women's leadership, and the structure of the Gender Unit of the National Electoral Council was created.  

As a result of this project, there was an increase of 6% of women elected to the National Congress and 45% in municipal corporations (supported by strategic communication actions including public events, positioning in the media, the campaign "politics does not have gender, it has ideas," a political marketing strategy for 60 local women candidates). 

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Photo: UN Women Honduras

Another significant achievement of the project is the qualification of data on compliance with parity and alternation in the 2021 elections, used as official information for high-level reports (EU and OAS) and documentation/analysis on violence against women politicians.  

The project has achieved results that were not previously contemplated, such as the participation of more women in politics, hand in hand with the strengthening of organizations that support the visibility and protection of women, as well as the positioning of women politicians on the front page, increasing the interest of national and international organizations in technically and/or financially accompanying more efforts to continue strengthening the political participation of women.