Gender Equality

Expanding horizons for Guatemalan girls and women by narrowing the digital gender gap

Guatemala



Dependent on men

Guatemala is a fiercely patriarchal society where men are the main breadwinners. Many parents see marriage as the best way of ensuring their daughters are protected financially. Guatemala has one of the highest child marriage rates in Latin America. In 2017, 6% of Guatemalan girls were married by the age of 15 and 30% were married by 18. This practice has become the norm due to a combination of poverty, gender discrimination and lack of education.

The tide is turning

There is hope on the horizon. Between 2015 and 2017 new laws were passed, making it illegal for girls under 18 to get married. Mobile operator Tigo and an organisation dedicated to empowering women through technology called Sheva believe that while this represents amazing progress, more needs to be done. They believe an essential way to support and protect girls and women even further is by training them to use mobile tools to increase their opportunities and improve their lives. ‘Mujeres Conectadas’, which means ‘Connected Women’, was launched in 2018.

A world of opportunities

Via workshops, Mujeres Conectadas teaches girls and women from ages 15-40 how to get the most out of their smartphones in a variety of ways; learning new languages with educational apps like Duolingo, staying safe online and avoiding harassment, promoting their businesses on social media, digitally managing their finances as well as introducing them to a whole new world of information, learning and potential.

Better connected

Women who are educated and marry later are more likely to earn an income and raise healthier, educated children, helping to end continuous cycles of inequality, discrimination and poverty. To date Mujeres Conectadas has trained more than 31,000 Guatemalan girls and women.

“My daughter and I did the training together. I can now create police reports from my phone and keep everything organised on Google Docs. I had a paper filing system before but this is much better. This scheme is so important as it gives young girls in this country options to take control of their lives and have the futures they deserve.”

Valeria Ruano, Police officer, Guatemala

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Guatemala

Guatemala 15.7835° N, 90.2308° W

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