Living without water in a desert area is part of the daily life of Ortensia Tserem, a member of the indigenous Wampis people from the Amazon rainforest of northeastern Peru, who came three years ago to the outskirts of the coastal city of Ica with the dream of better economic opportunities for her family.
At five in the morning, when fog covers the streets and the cold pinches hard, Mercedes Marcahuachi is already on her feet ready to go to work in Pachacútec, the most populated area of the municipality of Ventanilla, in the province of Callao, known for being home to Peru's largest seaport.
Adopting a “healthy housing” approach is improving the living conditions of rural Peruvian women like Martina Santa Cruz, a 34-year-old farmer who lives with her husband and two children in the village of Sacllo, 2,959 meters above sea level in the Andes highlands municipality of Calca.
Peru’s agro-export industry is growing steadily and reached record levels in 2022. But this has not had a favorable impact on human development in this South American country, where high levels of inequality, poverty, childhood anemia and malnutrition persist, as well as complaints about the poor quality of employment in the sector.
Paulina Locumbe, a 42-year-old peasant farmer who lives in the Andes highlands of southern Peru, learned as a child to harvest and dry crops, one of the ancestral practices with which she combats the food insecurity that affects millions in this Andean country.
The digital gender gap is multifactorial in Latin America and as long as countries fail to address discrimination against women, inequality will be reflected in the digital space, excluding them from access to opportunities and enjoyment of their rights.
The current political and social upheaval in Peru is not a temporary problem, but has to do with deeply-rooted inequality and social hierarchies, according to historian José Carlos Agüero.
Latin America and the Caribbean is no longer a young region and it will be one of the regions with the largest aging populations by 2050, which poses great challenges due to the social inequalities the countries face, but also opportunities to overcome them.
Violence against women has failed to decline in the Latin American region after the sharp rise recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, while preventing the causes of such violence remains a major challenge.
No woman in Peru should have to die, have her physical or mental health affected, be treated as a criminal or have an unwanted pregnancy because she does not have access to abortion, said Dr. Rocío Gutiérrez, an obstetrician who is the deputy director of the Manuela Ramos Movement
, a non-governmental feminist center that works for gender rights in this South American country.
Lourdes Barreto, 47, says that as an agroecological small farmer she has improved her life and that of Mother Earth. "I love myself as I love Mother Earth and I have learned to value both of us," she says in her field outside the village of Huasao, in the highlands of the southern Peruvian department of Cuzco.
"My father was very ‘machista’, he used to beat my mother... It was a very sad life," said Dionisio Ticuña, a resident of the rural community of Canincunca, on the outskirts of the town of Huaro, in the southern Peruvian highlands region of Cuzco more than 3,000 meters above sea level.
"When the pandemic hit, I stopped studying, just when it was my last year of school…My parents couldn't afford to pay for internet at home," said Rodrigo Reyes, 18, one of the nearly 250,000 children who dropped out of school in 2020.
"Without recognition of your identity by the State and society, there is no exercise of citizenship or rights," said Leyla Huerta, director of Féminas Perú, an organization that has been working since 2015 to empower transgender women in the face of the highly vulnerable situation they find themselves in.
Banning the use of the same bathroom, insults and calling people animals are just a few of the daily forms of racism experienced by people in Peru, a multicultural, multiethnic and multilingual country where various forms of discrimination are intertwined.
In the afternoons he draws with chalk on the sidewalk of a downtown street in the Peruvian capital. Passersby drop coins into a small blue jar he has set out. He remains silent in response to questions from IPS, but a nearby ice cream vendor says his name is Pedro, he is 11 years old, and he draws every day on the ground for about four hours.
"They mustn’t stop looking for her," said Patricia Acosta, mother of Estéfhanny Díaz, who went missing on Apr. 24, 2016, along with her five-year-old and eight-month-old daughters, after attending a children's birthday party in Mi Perú, a town in the coastal province of Callao, next to the Peruvian capital.
"I always express myself in Quechua and I don't feel I’m less of a person," said Elías Ccollatupa, 47, who has been a bilingual intercultural teacher for more than two decades in the Chinchaypujio district, one of the nine that make up the province of Anta, in the department of Cuzco, in the southern Andean region of Peru.
"We are not asking for money, but for our health, for a dignified life," is the cry of the people of Choropampa, which lawyer Milagros Pérez continually hears 22 years after the environmental disaster that occurred in this town in the department of Cajamarca, in Peru´s northern Andes highlands, on the afternoon of Jun. 2, 2000.
"Water is part of our culture, it is intrinsic to the Amazon," said José Manuyama, a member of a river defense committee in his native Requena, a town located in the department of Loreto, the largest in Peru, covering 28 percent of the national territory.
Women entering the political arena in Peru face multiple obstacles due to gender discrimination that hinders their equal participation, which can even reach the extreme of political harassment and bullying, in an attempt to force them out of the public sphere.