International Day of Rural Women: Empowering women-led indigenous organizations in the Amazon

October 15, 2020

Historically, our world has been one dominated by men. For much of history, for example, the right to own property wasn’t afforded to women. Today, around the world, women continue to face marginalization, gender-based violence, higher rates of unemployment, lower wages and education levels, and more.

All of these struggles are amplified for rural women – and even more so for indigenous women – as these intersectional challenges they face involve not only gender but also race and class, and thus become especially complex.

This is what Pact’s SCIOA project is working to overcome. With funding from USAID and in partnership with organizations across five countries, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Surinam and Guyana, SCIOA (Strengthening the Capacities of the Indigenous Organizations in the Amazon) is increasing indigenous people's influence in the governance of the Amazon region in order to protect the region's environment and the rights of its indigenous people. With adapted, culturally relevant capacity development tools, Pact is building the capacities of indigenous organizations to access and manage financial resources and take ownership of their own development planning and priorities.

Today, on International Day of Rural Women, two indigenous organizations stand out for initiatives they have managed to sustain – despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic — to tackle discrimination against women.

In Peru, the Union of Ashanika and Yanesha Nationalities (UNAY) has represented artisan women in the midst of Covid-19, in order to commercially promote their artisan knowledge, and thus, their economic autonomy.

In Brazil, the União das Mulheres Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira (UMIAB) focuses on mobilizing women across the country to defend their rights and increase their visibility and participation.

Each organization, in its own way, contributes to building better lives for rural indigenous women. In this video, learn more about these organizations, the women that lead them, and how SCIOA is supporting them to meet their missions.