Victory in Nicaragua! National Assembly passes Violence against Women Law
CoDev’s Nicaraguan partner, MEC (Maria Elena Cuadra Movement of Employed and Unemployed Women) and the wider women’s movement in Nicaragua achieved a significant victory in January 2012 when the National Assembly voted to bring into legislation a Law Against Violence Against Women.
In 1994 MEC began by educating women maquila workers about their rights as both workers and women. They quickly realized, however, that without a legislative framework and accompanying legal mechanisms, women’s rights would never be fully protected and so began their efforts to bring change to Nicaragua’s laws. The legal reforms that they have developed are borne out of women’s experience and reflect women’s aspirations for equality.
The changes they have achieved in the past include revisions to the Labour code to include clauses specific to the maquila factories; and a law guaranteeing equal opportunities for women.
None of these changes have come easily but MEC has persisted and gained important public support for their campaigns and advocacy along the way.
At the start of their campaign to achieve the Law Against Violence Against Women, Nicaraguan women presented a proposal for the law to the National Assembly with the signatures of 12,000 women from around the country! They went on to organize forums, marches and meetings. In late January they rallied for three days outside the National Assembly in order to keep the pressure on the legislators and to ensure that the entire bill passed.
According to MEC’s website, for the first time in Nicaragua’s history a law spells out and condemns all forms of violence against women, including the crime of femicide. MEC Director, Sandra Ramos said that the law is dedicated to the 800 women who have been murdered in the last ten years in Nicaragua.