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Gallery Gallery – Page 2 – 30 Anniversary

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Sexual and Reproductive Health

Latin America is the only region that has experienced an increase in pregnancies of girls under the age of 15 over the past decade. In addition to making it more difficult for adolescent girls to complete their education and find meaningful employment, early motherhood comes with several physical risks. Maternal mortality for girls under 16 is four times that of women in their 20s and young mothers are less likely to seek prenatal care, increasing the chances that their children will have development problems before or after birth.

Each year, 7,000 women in Latin America die from complications of birth, abortion or miscarriage, and 100,000 babies die in the first month of life. Additionally, 24 million women of reproductive age do not have access to modern contraceptive methods which accounts for 75% of the unintended pregnancies in the region.

Jeopardized Health

Women with scarce resources often find themselves with little or no safety net and insurance, a lack of time and have limited access to health knowledge.


“At first, clients were reticent to pay for any medical services – especially preventative ones. A deeply rooted culture of machismo makes it difficult – even today- to convince women of the importance of getting things like PAP smears. But over time, the quicker and more reliable lab results offered by the clinics won clients over to the extent that they began demanding more health services.”


Starting in 2014, emigration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras began to rise. It’s critical to note that women and girls are far more vulnerable to traffickers during the migration process and are more likely to end up in exploitative sex work or domestic service. Many of them flee violence and have limited professional opportunities only to find themselves with the same challenges in a foreign place, or worse yet, the shame of having to return home and be revictimized or face retribution.


Overall, the region has faced no shortage of challenges in the past 30 years. Yet, in difficult moments — and in spite of them — women have reinvested the fruits of their labor into their families, built communities, developed new livelihoods and through works large and small and with no shortage of hardship, they’ve constructed a better future for themselves and those around them.


Patricia Yapura’s 15-year-old daughter became very ill during her pregnancy. Patricia spent months by her side in the hospital. During this time, she had to stop attending to her business and lost customers and orders. She struggled to get credit to keep her shop afloat until a friend introduced her to Pro Mujer. Patricia was able to pay off her debts and regain her financial independence. She also found inspiration to create a custom harness at the request of a family with a disabled son. Her invention won the national micro-entrepreneurship and innovation competition Propulsar in Argentina.


If you ask Clemente Rios what the best part of his job is, he says “saving lives.”

During his 8 years at Pro Mujer, Clemente has become an expert at rebuffing women’s excuses to get a medical exam. Many of the women he works with jokingly refer to him as “the mayor” because he’s so good at raising awareness and changing minds. As a son, husband and father to two daughters, he is proud to have so many women in his life and adamant about ensuring that they do everything they can to stay healthy. Through his work, he believes he is providing them with more than credit – Pro Mujer elevates their self-esteem and allows them to live more fully balanced lives.

La Lucha Sigue: The Next 30 Years

On many fronts, women in Latin America are better off than they were 30 years ago. Technology and the digital world we now live in has helped to magnify their voices by improving communication and making many resources more accessible and less costly to obtain or provide.  However, violence against women, machismo culture, a lack of overall gender equality – in the home, in the workplace, in politics and in society continue to be the biggest deterrents to them reaching their full potential. And yet, despite – or perhaps because of – the hurdles they continue to face, women in Latin America are forever fighters or luchadoras. They carry on with resilience and perseverance, pushing themselves and those around them to keep their heads, hearts and voices lifted, no matter how great or small the victory is.