Nuevas Trenzas Informs
JANUARY 2013 N° 2
The new profile of young rural women in Peru Aileen Agüero and Mariana Barreto, Nuevas Trenzas Program – Peru, Instituto de Estudios Peruanos This document aims at portraying the current situation of young rural women in Peru. The analysis parts from the perspective that young rural women are a collective marked by “intertwined inequalities” which place them in a situation of disadvantage in relationship to other groups. Likewise, we consider young rural women’s practical abilities. We argue that even if the gaps affecting this group have closed, there are still significant obstacles that limit this collective’s capacity for developing autonomous and successful life strategies. What inequality gaps do young rural women face? Young rural women are a collective marked by “intertwined inequalities”, that is to say, by the existence of different gaps that intersect, generating a situation of disadvantage in relation to other groups. We consider four gaps that determine the situation of young rural women in the continent: • Gender gap: separates young rural women from rural men belonging to the same generation. • Area of residency gap: separates young rural women from their urban contemporaries. • Generational gap: separates young rural women from their rural mothers and grandmothers. • Poverty gap: within the group of young rural women, it distinguishes those who live in a poor household from those who live in a non-poor household. These gaps directly affect young rural women’s “ability to do”. This “ability to do” may be broken into the following competencies: technical competence (managing the necessary skills to do something), legal competence (existence of a legal framework that allows doing something), and subjective competence (the subject’s capability for perceiving herself with the ability to do something). This, ultimately, affects young rural women’s possibilities of having an autonomous life strategy. Which gaps affect young rural women? In Peru there are 1.301.760 young rural women (between ages 14 and 35), that represent 4 percent of the total national population, 16 percent of the rural population, 8 percent of the total national population of women, and 12 percent of the total national youth population. Among Nuevas Trenzas program’s main findings regarding the situation of young rural women in Peru, we have the following: Education: Peru is among the counties with the best improvements in reducing the education gap. For every year that
men study, women, basically, study one year as well (Graph 1). Oftentimes, women enroll in school but do not finish the academic year or do not pass their exams. This happens because their families have no longer enough money to send them to school, because they find a job out of town, or because they start to live with their partners. A frequent discourse among these young women claims that studying was not made for them. This is, however, a discourse impregnated with regret, thus they are very much in favor of their daughters completing their education.
Graph 1 0.8 26 – 35 years of age
Gender and geographic gap: number of years of studying according women’s age cohorts and area of residency.
0.9 18 – 25 years of age
14 – 17 years of age
Source: Peru: Encuesta Nacional de Hogares (ENAHO) 2010.
Years studied by a rural woman/years studied by a rural man Years studied by a rural woman/years studied by an urban woman
We also observe a wide gap separating urban from rural women. This gap however is smaller among the younger cohort. Civil status: in relation to their male peers, a larger number of young rural women live with their partners. The difference is bigger in the younger cohort (between ages 18 and 25), in which 34 percent of the women live with their partners in comparison to 18 percent of their male peers. In the older cohort (between ages 26 and 35), the percentage is the same for both groups, 50 percent. We must notice that in most cases moving in together is not an initiative arising from women or a decision made by them but mostly by their partners. Moving in together is often a traumatic event for young rural women: they are the ones who leave their families for moving in to the homes of their in-laws. They see, then, their vital space limited, and thus, their privacy restricted. Information and communication technologies: access to ICTs has increased significantly over the last decades. However, regarding the possession of cell phones in young rural women’s homes there is, in all three age cohorts, a clear gap according to the area of residency. This gap is bigger among the oldest cohort: 89 percent of young urban women have at least one cell phone in their homes, in relation to 52 percent of their rural peers. The poverty gap is also significant. A high percentage, close to 80 percent, of non poor young rural women has at least one cell phone in their home. This percentage decreases significantly as poverty increases. Cell phones are valued because they allow keeping in touch with family who live far away. Also, and especially for the oldest, cell phones are a work tool. Meanwhile for the youngest it can represent a space of freedom and privacy.
Graph 2 72%
Regarding the use of Internet, we find a significant geographic and generation gap, as it can be observed in Graph 2.
14 – 17 years of age
Geographic gap and use of Internet: percentage of women who accessed the Internet at least once in the last month, according to age cohorts.
18 – 25 years of age
26 – 35 years of age
Source: Peru: Encuesta Nacional de Hogares (ENAHO) 2010.
www.nuevastrenzas.org Life strategies: in this area there is a significant poverty gap. When living in ex- which also contrasts significantly with treme poverty, women’s total income usually comes from agriculture. In the 26 to the country’s rural poverty rates. 35 year old cohort, the proportion between the agricultural and non agricultural Regarding political attitudes, there is income is 89 percent in relation to 11 percent (Graph 3). an important poverty gap. Data show that the poorer the women, the least 18 -25 years of age 26 – 35 years of age preference for a democratic governGraph 3 ment system. 61% Main occupations of rural youth: main categories according to age and gender.
Women 42% Men
Conclusions and incidence recommendations
On the one hand, figures show that the most important changes correspond to 2% 2% 1% Merchants, Agricultural, Agricultural, Merchants, Polyvalent Polyvalent the younger cohorts of rural women. retail salefishing, forest, fishing, forest, retail saleexploiters exploiters Peru: Encuesta Nacional speople farm workers, farm workers, speople (agricultural, (agricultural, On the other, according to qualitative and similar. and similar. livestock, livestock, de Hogares (ENAHO) 2010. forest) forest) information, we find among young rural women an empowerment and equality discourse in terms of gender relations. Household chores are usually the responsibility of women, whatever their age. Thus, women are now key actors for Rural economies are viable because they are subsidized by the non remunerated the development of the territories they family work carried out by women. The category of the non-remunerated worker inhabit. In that sense, it is necessary to is associated to what is called the “economy of care”, that is, the activities and develop policies that will enhance their the relationships established to satisfy the material and emotional needs of deabilities for taking part in the processes pendent children and adults (Graph 4). of rural development. In addition, as we have seen earlier, this collective has Graph 4 more opportunities for accessing for58% 52% 50% mal education and ICTs. These opporType of main activities 41% tunities’, oftentimes promoted by the of young rural men and 32% 31% 29% public sector, are complemented by a women: main categories 17% 19% according to age and deeply interiorized discourse about its 11% 9% 9% gender. importance. 9%
18 - 15
26 - 35
Non-remunerated family worker
18 - 15
26 - 35
18 - 15
26 - 35
Peru: Encuesta Nacional de Hogares (ENAHO) 2010.
Citizen-State relations: the percentage of young rural women who possess the National Identity Document is high: it exceeds 93 percent in all cohorts. In the case of their houses’ property deeds, however, there is a significant geographical gap (in the cohort between ages 26 to 35, the difference is 21% between urban and rural). Perceptions and expectations: the percentage of women who consider themselves poor is always higher in rural areas; and it is more noticeable among women between ages 26 to 35. However, these figures are considerably lower than the rural poverty rates. On the other hand, 5 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 25 consider themselves poor according to their economic situation,
It is important to consider young rural women as a particular and heterogeneous collective, which is therefore in need of policies that will take into account their new characteristics. That is why it is imperative to focus not only in the changes occurring within the environment but also in the practices and imaginaries of young rural women. Young rural women are active agents with high capacity for innovation. In addition, they rely upon more resources such as education and information and communication technologies, that allow them not only access more op-
www.nuevastrenzas.org portunities but also to pursue a fulfilling personal development. However, in spite that some gaps are closing-or are starting to-young rural women are still living in a context of intertwined inequalities that prevents them from developing their life strategies. This is especially true during the â€œbreak pointâ€?, the moment between the 18 and 22 years of age in which many young rural women move in with their partners, event that sometimes lead them to give up on their life plans. In that sense, the greatest challenge is to change these social and cultural determinants (that is the strong gender bias within the different spaces where young women develop), caused by gender and poverty traps, that affect young rural women, preventing them from achieving their expectations, o even trying to do so.
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