Women in El Salvador suffer under some of the most draconian and harsh laws pertaining to sexual and reproductive health. An abortion or complications during birth, such as a miscarriage, can land women in jail for 50 years.
In addition to a lack of autonomy over our bodies, the Salvadoran government of Nayib Bukele and its institutions, such as the National Civil Police, make femicides invisible by classifying them as homicides. Giving false figures reduces the number of cases. However, feminist organizations such as the Organization of Women for Peace (Ormusa), founded to end violence against women, counted 42 femicides between January and October 2022. Government institutions avoid providing information and details on cases of violence against women to purposely keep the information outdated.
Although the bourgeois propaganda of the current government paints itself as progressive and modern, the reality is that working women suffer a significant disadvantage in terms of salary compared to men. While women earn an average of $325.12, men have a salary of $379.12. They also have a higher health insurance coverage of 26.2 percent over women’s 23.2 percent.
The most recent numbers on unemployment in El Salvador are from 2020. These numbers show an increase in informal work where women represent overwhelmingly those who are self-employed workers.
The Institute of Public Opinion (IPO) of the José Simeón Cañas Central American University indicates that 49.3% of those surveyed believe that their family economy remains the same, and 18.2% express that it has worsened due to unemployment and the high cost of the basic food basket.
Thousands of women have lost access to their incomes as they or their family members have been arbitrarily detained under the state of emergency that has been in effect for over a year. Since April 2022, hundreds of women have been imprisoned without criminal records or evidence of crimes.
The sector leading the fight for the release of those captured are women, mothers, sisters, or daughters who sleep outside the prisons waiting or looking for their family members. Most cases do not even have criminal records, yet they have no right to a lawyer or visits.
The Bukele government, in its attempts to rid the country of gangs, has criminally used bourgeois laws to imprison women and men, mostly young workers, who are dying and being tortured in prisons. Amnesty International has spoken out about serious human rights violations, including freedom of expression since some women who demand justice have had to flee the country due to harassment by the government’s repressive forces.
Currently, the Armed Forces of El Salvador is one of the institutions with the highest funding, with 232.8 million dollars, while higher education receives 132.4 million. Nothing shows more blatantly how for the Salvadoran government, education is deprioritized.