Tlaxcala is a state that faces problems of violence against women linked to the phenomenon of human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking. This phenomenon reflects a cultural reality in Tlaxcala in which gender norms, especially those related to masculinity, are rooted in traditional patterns of the control and domination of women. For example, a recent study found that 20% of boys and male adolescents from third grade to ninth grade expressed interest in being an exploiter of women, due to the high profits and prestige that the business reports.
Violence against women in Tlaxcala is a prevailing problem. The state has experienced a growing trend in the number of hospital discharges of women in public institutions due to causes directly related to violence (from 1,380 cases in 2004 to 2,039 in 2014) – note that cases of violence tend to be drastically under-reported. In August 2016, a gender violence alert was requested in the state of Tlaxcala in 13 municipalities, including Santa Ana Chiautempan. In addition, Chiautempan’s health clinics had the fourth highest number of cases of women injured by violence in Tlaxcala.
Within this context of violence, teachers in Chiautempan middle schools have identified a serious problem of violence among adolescents (girls being insulted or pushed by partners in dating relationships), though it is often not viewed as violence by the young persons involved as such behaviour has become normalized.
Mexico has the highest teen pregnancy rate of all OECD countries, with 77 births per 1,000 youth ages 15-19 years of age (for comparison, the global rate is 46 per thousand). While the number of adolescent pregnancies decreased from 400,000 a year to 340,000 a year since President Enrique Peña Nieto put the National Strategy to Prevent Adolescent Pregnancy in place in January 2015, this rate is still alarmingly high. While becoming a parent radically changes a young person’s life, it often has significantly greater consequences for the mother, including school desertion and changes in aspirations for social advancement. According to Mexico’s National Population Council (CONAPO) estimates, 79.4% of pregnant women between 15 and 19 in Mexico City had unplanned pregnancies. In addition, within the capital, Milpa Alta is the delegation with the highest adolescent fertility rate (CONAPO, 2014), and an increasing rate of adolescent pregnancy has been reported in the semi-rural areas of the city. Global research shows that programs that address gender or power are five times more effective in reducing rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or unintended pregnancy than those that do not.
GENDES began in 2003 as a small team of professionals who desired to eradicate gender-based violence through working with men, and became a formal non-profit organization in 2008. GENDES works from a gender perspective, with an emphasis on masculinities, to promote processes of reflection, intervention, research and advocacy to promote and strengthen—in partnership with other actors—gender equitable relationships. It uses its CECEVIM model (which stands for Training Center to Eradicate Domestic Violence by Men and was developed by co-founder Dr. Antonio Ramirez) to help perpetrators of domestic violence work to change their beliefs and behaviors, based on traditional notions of masculinity, that lead to violence. Recognized as a national leader on preventing gender-based violence, GENDES has worked with various government entities on models of prevention and care. In 2011, it developed an international network of 17 groups from Mexico, the United States, Panama, and Uruguay that implement its model. With its expertise regarding triggers that activate violent behavior in men, GENDES created methodologies to prevent such violence among young people. Two of GENDES’ three co-founders still work for the organization, Mauro Antonio Vargas Urias in the role of Director, and Ricardo Ayllon Gonzalez as the Head of Methodology.
EMpower’s 1st grant will support GENDES A.C. to conduct an evaluation to better understand, incorporate and disseminate results of two of its interventions for youth. GENDES will train 100 eighth graders in Tlaxcala on the prevention of gender-based violence in dating relationships, and 100 eighth graders in Mexico City on preventing unwanted teenage pregnancy and hire a consultant to evaluate the trainings’ impact. If the findings are positive, GENDES will be better positioned to advocate for uptake among other NGOs and government.
Primary Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Funded Since: 2018
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