Gender Equality Context in El Salvador
El Salvador has made significant strides to reduce poverty and inequality in recent decades. Income inequality in the country – measured by the Gini coefficient – declined by about 5 percentage points between 2007 and 2016, driven by income growth for the poorest 20%. This has made El Salvador the second most equal country in Latin America —though poverty rates remain high in rural areas.
These developments have had positive effects on girls’ and women’s health and livelihoods. Yet gender gaps persist in women’s political participation, employment, wages and financial inclusion, and other areas. High rates of violence, limited access to family planning, and the full criminalization of abortion under all circumstances (even when a woman’s life is at risk) continue to undermine women’s health and vital rights.
El Salvador has strong human rights frameworks for women and children, though implementation remains a challenge. Certain forms of discrimination against girls and women reflect significant gaps between policy and practice. The Special Comprehensive Law for a Life Free of Violence for Women was passed in 2011, but women still experience gender-based violence, as well as discrimination and hostility from authorities, especially the police and judicial system.
On average, 15 cases of sexual violence are reported in El Salvador every day mostly against young women, with statistics showing that 7 out of 10 women who experience sexual violence are under 20 years of age