Using a ‘traffic light’ color scheme, learn about a country’s performance relative to the other countries for each SDG. Each square on a SDG line represents the performance of a country, with the selected country (i.e. Colombia) being the larger square. Click on a country square on any SDG line to learn about the related indicators and their score!

Gender Equality Context in Colombia

Colombia has strong laws and institutions to support the rights of girls and women. The country’s 1991 Constitution recognizes women’s equality and outlaws gender-based discrimination. The High Presidential Office for the Equality of Women was created after the adoption of the Constitution to monitor policies on gender equity. National legal and policy frameworks aim to support gender equality, expand parental leave, establish a 30% quota for women candidates in all elections, allow the legal termination of pregnancies in some cases, and end GBV and discrimination.

A vibrant civil society has been instrumental in crafting policies to create a more equitable society, including advocating for women’s participation in the peace process that resulted in the historic 2016 accord between the Government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP).

In practice, however, girls and women still endure discrimination; those in conflict-affected areas face significant challenges, including displacement. There are barriers to women’s access to land, agricultural resources and basic services in rural areas, as well as their opportunities to run for public office, their representation in government and their employment in the formal economy, alongside high rates of GBV. Many government policies and budgets continue to be ‘gender blind’: designed without including gender perspectives.

Jessica Lomelin / Equal Measures 2030
Jessica Lomelin / Equal Measures 2030

Key Findings

What does the SDG Gender Index tell us about the profile of gender equality for each country?

Areas of strong performance
  • SDG 1 on poverty: Colombia has the highest score amongst the six focus countries. This is driven partly by the fact that it had the highest proportion of the poorest 20% of the population covered by social assistance at 81% in 2014.

  • SDG 2 on hunger: Colombia scored well on the hunger goal. It had the lowest proportion of non-pregnant women with anaemia, 21% (2016).

  • SDG 3 on health: Colombia leads the group on two gender-related health indicators. It had the highest rate of women whose need for family planning was being met, 87% of women in 2016, and the lowest incidence of new HIV infections among women of reproductive age (0.04 out of every 1,000 uninfected women became infected in 2016, compared to a high of 3.09 per 1,000 in in 2016 in Kenya – a 77 times higher infection rate than Colombia).

  • SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation: 97% of the population were using at least basic sources of drinking water in 2015.

  • SDG 7 on energy: Colombia leads the group with 92% of the population reliant on clean fuels and technology as of 2016. Colombia also performed well on access to electricity in 2016 and is the highest-performing country in the measure of whether a country’s clean energy policies reflect a gender-responsive approach.

Areas for improvement
  • SDG 5 on gender equality: Just 19% of seats in the national parliament were held by women in 2018, and since the 2018 election none of the five senior government positions we measured were held by women.

  • SDG 8 on work and growth: Colombia had a fairly high rate of unemployment for women in 2017 and a fairly high ratio of young women to men who are not in education, employment and training in 2017. It also has a poor performance on the indicator measuring laws mandating women’s workplace equality as at 2018.

  • SDG 10 on inequality: A very high rate of income inequality pulls Colombia’s score down, because the richest 10% of people earned nearly 4 times the amount earned by the poorest 40% in 2012.

  • SDG 16 on peace, justice and institutions: Colombia has the weakest score on SDG 16 amongst the group, which is driven primarily by issues related to violence and conflict.  It had the highest rate of people displaced by conflict in 2017. Colombia also had the lowest percentage of women who reported feeling safe walking alone at night (just 36% in 2017) and the second highest rate of women who are killed as a result of intentional homicide in 2016.

Jessica Lomelin / Equal Measures 2030
Jessica Lomelin / Equal Measures 2030

EM2030 partner in Colombia

Jessica Lomelin / Equal Measures 2030

Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres

Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres is a feminist pacifist national organization, made up of more than 280 grassroots, afro-descendant, indigenous, rural and urban women's organizations in nine departments (areas) in Colombia. Since 1996, the movement has denounced Colombia’s violence and its impacts on the lives, bodies and land of women. It mobilized across the movement to call for a political negotiation to end the armed conflict, and advocated for a gender approach in negotiations between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP.

Since the signing of the peace agreement in 2016, and with the support of EM2030, Ruta Pacífica is monitoring the development and implementation of the agreement in seven regions to guarantee the participation of women in post-conflict activities and to ensure compliance with the peace agreement’s women-related measures. Monitoring draws on freedom of information requests as well as information gathered from female leaders in the territories and other organizations. Ongoing monitoring provides powerful context-specific information, and data for advocacy are being gathered to ensure that the rights of girls and women are upheld and that the specific provisions for them within the peace agreement are met.

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Equal Measures 2030 Partners