Status of women in Honduras ranks very low owing to gender inequality. In social, economic, and political aspects, women are in lower positions than men because cultural factors deny them the opportunity to participate actively in the society as their male counterparts. Culture, norms, and traditions have restricted roles that women play in the society. While men dominate in high positions in social, economic, and political aspects, women occupy the remaining low positions. According to United Nations Development Program (2014), Honduras ranks 100 in gender inequality index out of 146 countries. This means that gender inequality in Honduras is below the average as women experience significant discrimination in social, political, economic circles. Bautista (2004) argues that poverty makes women to play secondary roles in Honduras since they belong to low socioeconomic status. In this case, gender inequality appears to be a fundamental factor that defines the roles of women in Honduras as it relegates them to meager duties that do not empower them economically, politically, and socially. Therefore, this essay examines the impact of the social status of women in Honduras on their education, employment, and social rights in relation to health.
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The status of women in Honduras reflects their education status and consequently indicates health status of women. Women with high levels of education usually have good health because they can afford and access healthcare services because they are informed, unlike women with low education, who cannot understand the nature of healthcare services that is imperative for their health. The illiteracy levels and school attendance rates among girls are lower than in boys because they are 19.8% and 5.9% respectively (Bautista, 2004). These statistics show women of Honduras need affirmative action or policies that would enhance their educational standards and empower them. Murphy-Graham (2008) asserts that since education empowers women, Honduras needs to provide special education, which focuses on awareness of gender equity, self-confidence, and knowledge, to empower women. For this reason, education provides a means of empowering women socially, politically, and economically so that they can play a central role in improving their health conditions.
Employment is also an issue that relates to the status of women because the labor sector discriminates against women. Since women are subject to cultural norms and traditions that restrict their roles in the society, Women of Honduras do not have an equal chance in the employment sector. The enactment of Equal Opportunities for Women Act has enhanced employment rates of women and property ownership. Bautista (2004) reports that women employees increased by 12%, 9%, and 8.5% in financial institutions, commerce and transport, and agriculture respectively. These statistics imply that significant numbers of women are gradually entering into the employment sector, unlike in the past where their numbers were negligible. From the health perspective, these statistics imply that women can now afford and access healthcare services because of the economic empowerment.
Women of Honduras do not enjoy their social rights fully because of their status in society. The representation of women in the political arena is still low because women comprise 8.6% National Congress (Bautista, 2004). This shows that women have poor representation in leadership positions. Carlsen (2013) asserts that women have joined numerous social movements to agitate for their rights as they claim that they constantly experience sexual violence, femicides, poverty, marginalization, and inequality. Men violate social rights of women because of their status in the society and unfair norms and traditions that consign women to meager roles that do not empower them. Price and Asgary (2011) hold that the social conditions women in rural areas prevent them from achieving better health status like women in urban areas. In this view, restricted social rights of woman in Honduras create a society that supports male dominance and discriminates against women.
Bautista, L. (2004). Report of Honduras on Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome of the Twenty-third Special Session of the General Assembly (2000). Web.
Carlsen, L. (2013). Women Raise Banner of Women’s Rights in Honduran Popular Movement. Web.
Murphy-Graham, E. (2008). Opening the black box: Women’s empowerment and innovative secondary education in Honduras. Gender and Education, 20(1), 31-50.
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Price, J., & Asgary, R. (2011). Women’s health disparities in Honduras: Indicators and determinants. Journal of Women’s Health, 20(12), 1931-1937.
United Nations Development Programme (2014). Gender Inequality Index. Web.