Inequalities faced by women and girls can begin at birth and follow them all their lives.

Beatriz knows this all too well. In her Guatemalan village, the shadow of oppression excludes indigenous women like her from accessing higher levels of education, holding positions at the institutional level, being leaders in their communities and pursuing other ambitions. Marginalized and discriminated against, women struggle to make a positive difference for their families and communities.

In an effort to empower women in rural Guatemala, a project called Siempre Vivas (“Always Living”) teaches women about their rights and builds their self-esteem and leadership skills. Led by local partners, this initiative promotes women’s political participation and helps strengthen their voices at home and in broader society.

At first, Beatriz doubted her abilities as vice president of a PWS&D-supported agro-ecological group that is solving hunger issues in her community.

Since participating in Siempre Vivas, she is flourishing as a skilled, motivated leader. Assuredly, Beatriz assists vulnerable families as they plant vegetable gardens, care for livestock and improve livelihoods. “I have become better in my role as vice president, which is very different from when I began and was full of fear,” admits Beatriz. “I have begun the first steps that will demonstrate to other women that we can play important roles within organizations.”

These steps are yielding big results—lifting the burden of oppression and empowering women to take an active role in their community’s long-term development.

Following in Her Footsteps

Beatriz wants to change the reality she was brought up in. While her sons help her with household chores, Beatriz talks to them about gender equality. She hopes that they will grow up equipped to build more just societies.

I believe we can lead by example and that the changes in our families and communities will motivate and allow other women to follow in our footsteps.”

Respond With Us!

Empowering vulnerable women and advancing gender parity is critical for many areas of development—building healthier societies, reducing poverty and promoting the education and protection of girls and boys. Help lift the veil of oppression and grow more peaceful, just and prosperous communities—support this project today!

Banner photo: Beneficiaries of the agro-ecology for food security and food sovereignty project in Comitancillo, Guatemala. This project is linked to the gender empowerment and defence of Maya-Mam territory project in the same region.