Ignacio Asis, Carlhey Bolz, Gonzalo Pertile and Estuardo Pineda, all second-year fellows in the Master of International Development Policy (MIDP) program, presented at the 64th Annual Conference of the Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies (SECOLAS) March 23-26. Dr. Fernando Fernholz, associate professor of the practice at the Duke Center for International Development (DCID), moderated the discussion.

The fellows explored gender dimensions of development in Latin America during the conference, held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The theme of the conference, hosted jointly this year by the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University, was “Between Revolution and Rapprochement in the Americas.”

The panel discussed common historical characteristics in the region that resulted in unequal distribution of assets and income among the populations. Among some populations, gender issues include women’s low access to social services and assets, and a relatively high level of violence against women.

Although the region, in general, ranks second according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in terms of low indexes of gender discrimination, other indicators such as violence rates, including domestic violence rates, are unacceptably high.

The presentations considered a diversity of approaches used by governments and other stakeholders to address the issue. These include programs to strengthen possibilities for girls to go to or return to school, livelihood opportunities for women, and programs to empower women building their skills and confidence. The fellows shared their own examples from organizations they founded and programs they have researched or undertaken in Argentina, Peru and Guatemala.

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