The Problem

Rural Women in Peru

In rural areas of Peru women still have little control over their own lives and in the house hold. While women's rights have slowly been moving forward in Peru, these movements are generally focused in the larger cities. However, the 'machismo culture still dominates rural areas and small towns. Additionally, women in rural areas tend to have lower education rates and higher illiteracy rate. In general they have less economic opportunities than women living in larger towns or cities.

The machismo culture

The machismo culture is a set of roles, values and beliefs about masculinity and male roles in South American cultures. Men show an exaggerated sense of manliness and a sense of power or the right to dominate. In short, men are seen as superior to women and having the right to control them.

There is an expectation for women to stay home and take care of the house and family while the men go out and earn an income. Unfortunately, the exaggerated sense to the right to control women can result in domestic violence when the man feels as his wife has not fulfilled her household duties sufficiently. Additionally, women generally don't get a say in household and spending decisions as they are completely reliant on their husbands for money.

problems for women in peru
The problem - problems rural women in Peru face
Poverty Rates & Lack of Income Opportunities

Many women in rural communities don't even attend high school. Many children stop attending school as their parents need them to help work or care for younger siblings. This in conjunction with their rural locations, closes off a lot of economic opportunities for women in these areas.

Furthermore, poverty rates in rural Peru are still quite high. While most men in rural communities work, due to their lack of education they usually work in very low income fields or their work tends to be unstable. For example, in Pinagua where we work, the men in the village work in building or construction and the work is very unstable. So the families must survive off their few basic crops when the husband is not working.

Pinagua, Peru

Some of the children that attend our education programme in Oropesa, Picaflor House, come from the nearby village of Pinagua. Our Peru Community Programme Manager, Luz, is in regular contact with the parents of the children at Picaflor House, including the women in Pinagua. Through this connection we discovered the women in the village desired more control in their lives and households.