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Poverty is a significant issue for women in Honduras with 60.1% of women not having stable access to food (5). Whilst 91.9% of women are employed (5), of these women 9.5% still live in poverty (5). Of the whole population, 66% live in poverty and a fifth live in extreme poverty (7). As is the case in many other places, women spend a significant amount of time on unpaid domestic work; 17.3% of Honduran women’s time is spent on unpaid housework (5), putting them in a more difficult position economically as they have less time to spend on paid work. Whilst women suffer disproportionately from poverty, they still hold a significant number of managerial seats (50.9%) and senior and middle management positions (47.5%) (5).


The literacy rate for women in Honduras is 87.2% (5), and this relatively high rate of illiteracy can be recognised as a result of the number of women who do not complete an adequate number of years in education. Today, 23.5% of girls are not involved in any form of formal education (5) and only 53.5% of girls attend secondary school (9). This is even lower for college education, with only 24.4% of girls enrolling in college classes (9). In families that have a historically low level of involvement with education, the situation is particularly bad and there appears to be a cycle of a lack of education; 78% of children who dropped out of school in 2016 had parents who had either not received any formal education or had only attended primary school (9). For the girls who do attend school, there appears to still be an issue in the quality of education they receive, as a 2015 study found that 29% of girls performed unsatisfactorily in maths and as many as 62% of female students were classed as ‘needing improvement’ (9).

Gender-Based Violence

Honduras has the highest rate of femicide in Latin America, and one of the highest in the world- per 100,000 people, there are on average 6.2 cases of femicide (1). Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, levels of gendered violence became worse, with emergency calls relating to domestic violence reaching an average of 282 per day (1) and the number of domestic violence cases increasing by 4.1% overall (3). Furthermore, in 2020 alone, 278 women were murdered (1). 27.8% of women have been victims of physical and /or sexual violence from a partner (2). The cultural perception of gendered violence worsens the situation for women by presenting domestic violence in an insensitive way and placing at least part of the blame on the female victims; a study found that 9 out of 10 news stories reporting about domestic violence promote the discussion of morbid details and also justify why the perpetrator has been violent (1). Child marriage is also a very significant issue in Honduras, with 7.6% of women marrying before the age of 15 and 33.6% of women marrying before the age of 18 (5).

Political representation

Whilst women can be seen to participate in voting at higher levels than men (in the 2013 election, 62.8% of women voted compared to only 57.7% of men) (4), women are still underrepresented in politics. Only 21.1% of seats in national parliament and 27.9% of seats in local parliament are held by women (5). Furthermore, between 1980 and 2020, only 169 women were elected to the legislature compared to over 1000 men (4). Despite the fact that quotas have been put in place to ensure women’s involvement in politics, parties continue to select male, mayoral candidates 75.95% of the time (4).


Health is a significant problem for women in Honduras- particularly for Indigenous women. The maternal mortality rate is relatively high at 65 deaths per 100,000 live births (5), however we can assume that a disproportionate number of maternity related health issues involve indigenous mothers; in 2011, 36% of indigenous women surveyed gave birth to their most recent children without the involvement of formal healthcare (8). Countrywide, 1.5 million people cannot access any sort of healthcare (7) and there are only 0.37 doctors per 1000 people (7). Furthermore, 9 out of 10 people do not have health insurance (7) revealing a real issue with the accessibility of healthcare. Research in San Nicolas found that 60% of women who had been treated at their local health centre did not know what illness they had or what medication they had been prescribed (6), demonstrating a lack of communication between healthcare professionals and the general public (6). In 2011, it was found that 56% of indigenous women report having poor health (8), and whilst 90% of those surveyed had heard of a pap smear, only 20% had had one within the past year (8). Furthermore, it was found that only 40% of women with partners were using contraception (8) meaning that the other 60% were vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted illnesses. Adolescent birth rates are also high, making up 88.7 births per 1000 of women aged between 15 and 49 (5).

Current law and policy

Honduras commits to prevent and prosecute violence against indigenous and Afro-descendant women, train law enforcement and improve services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. As part of the Public Policy for the Gender Equity and Equality of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Peoples, the Secretariat of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Peoples, SEDINAFROH, undertakes to include and develop within this policy the thematic axis of Preventing and Challenging Violence against Women, with the goal of punishing and eradicating all forms of violence against women of the Lenca, Garifuna, Miskitu, Pech, Tawaka, Maya-Chorti, Isleño, Tolupan and Nahua peoples. This thematic policy will be developed in line with the Honduras Gender Equality and Equity Plan - Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of the Rights of Women, Girls and Adolescents to Peace and a Life Free from Violence. It will also draw upon the National Plan against Violence towards Women, 2012-2022 and has been developed in a participative manner, respecting the specific nature of the realities and cultures of the women of the nine ancestral peoples of Honduras.

The Government of the Republic of Honduras, via the National Institute for Women, and under the UNiTE to End Violence against Women framework, further commits to enhance economic independence of women by providing legal texts that integrate women into economic life and equality of opportunity. It will also support the creation of systematic women’s shelters in Honduras, taking account of the 16 Steps Policy framework to end violence against women.

Through the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Special Directorate for Women, Honduras commits to pay holistic attention to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, so that they are not re-victimized in the criminal process, and to provide legal, social, psychological and forensic medical services, along with referral to health centres for immediate care and attention. Honduras also commits to the development of coordination networks with government institutions and non-governmental organizations to respond to the problem of violence against women in order to provide them with the assistance needed throughout the criminal process and the physical and psychological recovery of the victims of domestic and/or sexual violence. It will promote the training of law enforcement officers to better serve survivors of domestic and sexual violence and to use the protocols established, such as the technical guide for standard attention to victims, the manual and use of the Gesell Dome system, and the protocol for the application of the Domestic Violence Act.

It will also promote the use of the Gesell Dome system by law enforcement officers for obtaining the statements of the victims of sexual abuse without delay and ensure the prosecution of all forms of violence against women and, in particular, domestic violence and sexual violence.

Public spending - 17.5% of GDP on violence containment (excluding individuals’ expenditures and indirect costs such as lost wages resulting from lower productivity or absenteeism) (10).

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