Honduras Men often dominate the streetscape, especially in rural areas

Honduras Women and Gender

Women and men are legally equal (this also applies in the military and the police). However, the effects of such provisions are minor in everyday political and social life.

For example, there are currently (since the 2017 elections) just 23 mayors, compared to 275 mayors in a total of 298 municipalities (municipios). The Santa Barbara Department has the highest number of women mayors. The number of women in parliament fell from 31 (i.e. 24% of the 128 parliamentary seats) in the 2005-2009 legislative period to 27 women parliamentarians (20%) in the parliament elected in 2017.

The understanding of the roles of women and men is shaped by the culture of machismo common in Latin America, especially – but not only – in rural areas. High rates of unwanted pregnancies and teenage pregnancies (15% of newborns have mothers between 14 and 18 years of age) are contributing to the growing number of families with women heads. These families are more likely to experience poverty than others (66% versus 58%). In the agricultural sector, women are widespread as workers and family providers; however, access to land remains difficult for women as the legislation has not been reformed for years.

In the maquila factories, where women make up over 75% of the workforce, the working conditions are often harmful to health, and there are repeated dismissals and other forms of discrimination, especially against pregnant women. Women are often found in sectors with precarious working conditions, such as domestic workers. According to CEM-H, 100,000 women in Honduras work in this area, which is not regulated by the Labor Code.

According to franciscogardening, women in Honduras are exposed to high levels of violence, especially domestic and sexual violence. In the past six years, feminicides (femicidios) have reached alarming proportions. This is partly due to the increased violence from drug cartels. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the situation of women has worsened enormously. Domestic violence has increased and they are also affected by the economic crisis. Single parent women, this applies particularly.

Over 300 women were murdered in 2019 and 50 women in 2020 to March. “Reporteros de Investigación” has compiled data on femicides for the last six years for Choloma, this is an example for Honduras. Many of the femicides happen within families. The reasons for the steady increase in femicides outside the family are dangerous migration routes, maras, organized crime and the militarization of society. Femicide is a criminal offense by decree; However, there are no penalties. The high level of impunity continues to fuel femicides.

How strongly society is shaped by men and by Catholicism can also be seen in debates such as the morning-after pill. The example of the discussions about the planned new penal code, in which abortion is to remain a criminal offense, shows the dominance of the patriarchal worldview, which is also supported by the evangelical churches. The union of feminist and women’s organizations “somos muchas” (“We are many”) fights for the abolition of the paragraph on abortion.

The struggle for women’s rights is the main objective for a number of organizations, e.g. for the CDM (Centro de Derechos de Mujeres), for the group “Las Chonas” (Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz Visitación Padilla; focus: violence against women) or for the Centro de Estudios de la Mujer (CEM-H). The women’s organizations have brought about a number of changes in Honduran society, such as the abolition of compulsory military service in 1994 through the mobilization and hunger strike of the women of the Las Chonas women’s movement.

Women and women’s organizations are present and influential in organized civil society, but structures of machismo are also discernible within civil societies. A survey by the digital interpretation contracorriente shows how deeply violence against women is anchored in society and in social organizations.

Indigenous women have played an important role in indigenous organizations for years and shape the entire Honduran civil society with their discourses and struggles. Indigenous women and women in smallholder structures are particularly affected by the extraivist economic model. Above all, indigenous women often play an important role in defending their territories. In 2016, indigenous women founded an association at national level: the Coordinadora Nacional de Mujeres Indígenas de Honduras (CONAMIN) to express themselves together and to support one another.

Honduras Men often dominate the streetscape, especially in rural areas


Members of sexual minorities (LGTBI) in Honduras have been exposed to discrimination and massive human rights violations, especially since the 2009 coup. Homosexuality is not prohibited. But in 2004 Parliament unanimously included an article in the constitution that forbids any form of legal recognition of same-sex partnerships. There are only a few groups that campaign for the rights of gays and lesbians. The small but active LGTBI movement was an important part of the resistance movement against the coup and it now occupies an important place in social movements in Honduras. Murders and threats to LGTBI have increased again since 2016, particularly hate killings. The corona crisis contributes to further stigmatization of the LGTBI. This report from several civil society organizations describes the situation of LGTBI people during the Corona crisis.

Along with Mexico and Colombia, Honduras is one of the countries in Latin America with the highest murder rate of LGTBI. Journalist Dina Meza provided a good analysis and overview of the LGTBI community.

The film “En mis tacones” (“On my high heels”) by the Honduran filmmaker and LGTBI activist Fernando Reyes provides a good insight into the reality of life in the LGTBI community and its discrimination.