In the rural municipality of Pasto, capital of the Colombian Department of Nariño, all streets now have lighting; a comprehensive care unit for victims of gender-based violence has been reactivated; more than 100 women are increasing their economic autonomy to prevent them from falling into cycles of violence; and the municipal budget for gender issues has tripled compared to before the pandemic.
But none of this is accidental. They are achievements directly supported by gender statistics – including disaggregated and localized data on violence against women (VAW).
The rapid gender assessment on violence against women (VAW) during COVID-19, rolled out nationally by UN Women in 2021, found that 63% of surveyed women said they or someone they know had experienced at least one form of VAW – almost double the 33% estimated in a national demographic and health survey in 2016. In addition, the rapid survey found that 20% of women thought domestic conflicts had increased during the pandemic; 36% believed it was common for women to be harassed in public; and 43% said domestic abuse had become more common since the pandemic.
These and other data from the rapid survey were released through a series of activities in November 2021, attended by Isabel Goyes, Co-director of the Nariño Gender Observatory.
“Clearly these reports were very important benchmarks. We commented in that meeting in Bogotá that these figures were useful, but that for the regions we needed disaggregated data,” explains Goyes. “We give regional context to national figures, and after that event, they gave us access to the disaggregated microdata, which gave us data specific to Nariño and enabled us to prepare an analysis.”
The Observatory prepared the localized report for the Department of Nariño and the Municipality of Pasto, whose findings were disseminated through radio and television programmes, at an event and shared directly with relevant institutions, authorities and entities.
Elena Pantoja, Secretary of Women, Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities for the Municipality of Pasto, was among them: “These figures allowed us to make our mayor understand the importance of the issue and include things in the Municipal Development Plan to obtain unassigned resources. This allowed us to access historic resources and develop an economic autonomy project with a real gender perspective, because it was understood that these levels of violence in households made it necessary to support economic autonomy to enable women to escape cycles of violence.”