Best known as the heart of the Inca Empire, Peru is and has been home to many diverse indigenous cultures long before the Incas arrived; its rich and varied heritage includes the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco and the lost city of Machu Picchu. The diversity, color, creativity and multiple functions of Peru's cultural identity, has serve as the fundaments for the way of life for thousands of families and communities.
Peru, the third largest country in South America with a population of over 29.9 million, has made great strides in development over the last decade. Achievements include significant advances in social and development indicators and reduction of poverty, which fell from 48.5% in 2004 to 27.8% in 2011. Ranking 77th out of 187 countries in the 2013 Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and despite the achieved progress, disparities across the country remain high, particularly between rural and urban areas. In 2011, while the poverty rate was only 18% in urban areas, it stood at 56.1% in rural areas.
largest country in South America with a population of nearly 30 million
While the poverty rate
was only 18% in urban areas, it stood at 56% in rural areas as of 2011
FROM PERU: MEET THE ARTISAN
The Artisan Women’s House, apart of Movimiento Manuela Ramos, began in 1993 with the goal of improving Peruvian artisans’ quality of life and to promote the consumption and value of these artisans’ work. Manuela Ramos offers a line of accessories, such as hats and mittens that are 100% alpaca, along with dolls made in fine natural fibers. All of their products are hand knit by women in Puno, an Andean region in the south of Peru known for the quality of its textiles. The women here, aside from knitting, also tend livestock, work in agriculture, and care for their families.
Naguska was founded in 1997 as an export company of Peruvian handicrafts, a craft that, since pre-Columbian times, has been characterized by its richness, variety and unique beauty. Even today, the materials and techniques that its artisans have inherited from generation to generation can be appreciated in every piece. Naguska seeks to create job opportunities for artisans in Peru, increasingly for groups of women knitters from the rural area in highlands of Puno. Naguska provides training and technical support in the implementation on workshops so they can make their work as well as increase the quality of products and, therefore, of their life.
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION
For twenty years, Peru went through an internal armed conflict (1980-2000), in which approx. 70,000 people died and many others suffered torture and rape. Even when the country is now showing a more uplifting economic environment, and the armed conflict has ended, Peru remains characterized by rampant inequality, and widespread discrimination and racism. Although human rights issues affect many sectors of the population, there are some violations which are gender-based, or affect women to a greater extent due to prevailing patriarchal systems. In addition, race and class may worsen women’s position in Peruvian society.
Peru ranks 78 out 135 countries in the Global Gender Gap. Although it can be said that advances concerning women’s rights have been made, progress has been slow. Peruvian women and girls still experience discrimination, domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, lack of education, and health care. Although the law in Peru promotes gender equality, in practice discrimination against women continues, and societal prejudice has led to disproportionate poverty and unemployment rates for women, who have fewer employment opportunities than men. Women usually work in less-secure occupations as maids, in factories, or as street vendors, and were more likely to be illiterate due to lack of formal education.