Remarks by Ambassador William H. Duncan at the Launch of the Observatory on Violence against Politically Active Women

May 25, 2023

* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish version should be considered authoritative.

Political violence continues to be a barrier to women’s access to positions of leadership, representation, and decision-making in the public arena. Violence hinders women’s ability to exercise their political rights and compete on equal terms with their male peers for elective office, even in countries that have established specific mechanisms to promote gender parity. Violence against women and society’s tolerance make the conditions much less favorable for women’s participation in democratic politics.

Salvadoran women frequently encounter violence when they run for elected office or take active roles in political parties and campaigns, violence that can take various forms, from harassment and threats of psychological abuse, to physical and sexual assaults. ANDRYSAS documented 939 violent incidents against politically active women during the 2021 election cycle. That number is very high, but it almost certainly underestimates the true scale of the challenge.

The work that ANDRYSAS and Igualtat are doing, registering and documenting all the multiple manifestations of violence, raises awareness about the dimensions of the problem, and also helps to inform decision-makers and encourages them to take appropriate measures to prevent violence so that women can be on an equal footing with men in the exercise of their political rights.

The exercise of political rights for both men and women is essential for the development of any country. Violence limits the ability of women to rise to leadership positions in political parties and government. But it also prevents the inclusion of women in all areas of society, from education to the economic development of the country.

The United States is committed to gender equality and the elimination of all forms of violence against women. And we are pleased to collaborate with other countries and international organizations, with the leadership of the parties and with the Government of El Salvador to promote the safety of women so that they can fully participate in politics without fear.