2020 Index score: 61.2
2015 Index score: 59.7
Status: ‘Some progress’ since 2015 and ‘poor’ overall score
2020 Global ranking: 98 of 144 countries
2020 Regional ranking: 19 of 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean
The 2022 SDG Gender Index shows that Guatemala has seen ‘some progress’ towards gender equality since 2015. With 61.2 points, Guatemala ranks 98th of 144 countries globally and 19th of 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in 2020.
Guatemala has improved its performance on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on water and SDG 7 on clean energy. The greatest progress has been on access to clean water (Ind. 6.1), with a score of 94 in 2020. Scores have also remained strong on women’s land rights (Ind. 1.3, with a score of 100), closely followed by prevalence of anaemia amongst women (Ind. 2.3 at 93 points).
In terms of goals, Guatemala has made greatest progress on SDG 9 on innovation, gaining almost 7 points from 2015 to outperform the 2020 regional average. This has been driven by progress on women’s use of digital banking (Ind. 9.1), even though Guatemala and the LAC region still score ‘very poor’ on this. Guatemala also scores a perfect 100 for women’s representation in science and technology (Ind. 9.4).
Guatemala’s weakest scores are on SDG 16 on justice and SDG 5 on gender equality (38 and 46 points, respectively). Its lack of progress on the extent of legal grounds for abortion (Ind. 5.3) and significant backsliding on women in ministerial roles (Ind. 5.5) account for its ‘very poor’ overall score on SDG 5. Weak performance on laws on workplace equality (Ind. 8.4) could explain why Guatemala’s score on SDG 8 on work remains 16 points below the regional average of 68 for 2020.
Even though SDG 10 on inequalities has seen ‘some progress’ since 2015, the score is below the regional average, with ‘no progress’ made on indicators such as income inequality (Ind. 10.1), personal autonomy and individual rights (Ind. 10.2), and gender diversity laws (Ind. 10.5) which also scored ‘very poor’ for 2020.
The country has moved in the ‘wrong direction’ on women’s perceptions of housing costs (Ind. 11.1) and on women’s perceptions of household income (Ind. 1.4), contributing to Guatemala’s ‘decline’ on both SDG 11 on sustainable cities and SDG 1 on poverty. These downswings pre-date COVID-19, suggesting that Guatemala and other countries in Central America may have experienced further setbacks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guatemala has made some progress towards gender equality, but scores lower than most countries in the region.
Reflections from la Asociación Generando Equidad, Liderazgo y Oportunidades (ASOGEN)
Guatemala shows ‘some progress’ in the 2022 SDG Gender Index, although it still has a ’poor’ score for 2020. This reflects the persistent gaps in development and gender equality in the country.
Progress since 2015 on regulatory frameworks and policies in favour of women includes the creation of the National System for Equity between Men and Women. This system coordinates the actions instigated by the various State bodies (local governments, collegiate bodies, bodies with civil society participation, inter-institutional spaces and within public institutions) that aim to guarantee the well-being of women, to ensure the fulfilment of their human rights and to close inequality gaps through the Presidential Secretariat for Women (SEPREM).
However, in April 2017, the plenary session of the Congress of the Republic heard Initiative 5272, which sought approval for the Law for the Protection of Life and the Family. Representing a real setback for the exercise of women’s human rights and sexual and reproductive rights, it hinders access to information about modern contraceptive methods and comprehensive sexuality education, and it imposes harsher penalties for abortion. This directly impacts the fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on gender equality, for which Guatemala scores ‘very poor’ on the Index with just 46 points – the country’s second-lowest score across the 14 SDGs observed by the Index.
There has been insufficient progress on curbing and preventing violence against women, girls, adolescents and young people. For example, in the context of COVID-19-related lockdowns, domestic violence increased. Data from the public prosecutor’s office report that an average of five women go missing every day; in 2020, there were 197 reports of violence against women per day; and in 2019, 699 women died as a result of femicide (female victims of homicide) or violence compared with 454 in 2020 and 531 in 2021. In the Index, Guatemala scores ‘very poor’ on the femicide rate with only 35 points.
This explains why Guatemala is so far behind the Latin America and the Caribbean regional average on SDG 5 on gender equality and on SDG 16 on justice. It is a reflection of the State’s neglecting to guarantee human rights and strengthen the institutional framework that impacts the lives of the entire population, but especially women, girls and adolescents.