Owing to lack of funds, Reina Trinidad had not had a dental or gynecological appointment for four years. On March 28, when she heard about the inauguration of Ciudad Mujer, she decided to go to the center in Lourdes Colón, in the department of La Libertad, to see if they could help her.
There she found a place where she could not only have her teeth reconstructed, but would also have access to periodic visits of the kind that all women need. In addition to health, the services offered her would include child healthcare, domestic violence prevention/assistance, financial empowerment, sexual and reproductive health, as well as the promotion and defense of her rights.
As an initiative supported by the IDB and led by El Salvador’s Ministry of Social Inclusion, Ciudad Mujer seeks to improve the living conditions of Salvadoran women through an integrated focus and the promotion of women’s rights.
For now, this first center established in Lourdes Colón, was financed by Salvadoran government funds. The IDB is a key partner in the implementation of six more Ciudad Mujer centers, which will be financed with US$20 million and national counterpart funds of US$9.2 million. In addition to the loan, the IDB will provide technical assistance designed to improve service quality and to incorporate a rigorous impact assessment.
In El Salvador, about half of all women are victims of violence and only one-third of those who suffer this abuse seek help. While women have achieved educational parity, their average income still barely reaches 55.7 percent of that earned by men. Thus, many women encounter significant obstacles including discrimination and lack of opportunities.
The IDB president, Luis Alberto Moreno, is able to visualize a different future. “Ciudad Mujer was specifically launched to enforce the rights of Salvadoran women, improve their access to health services, strengthen their productive capacity and provide them with the opportunity for a decent life,” he stated.
At a Ciudad Mujer center, the female population will find solutions to a set of problems without having to visit multiple institutions in different locations. This involves a significant saving of time and travel and reduces the barriers to accessing services.
IDB technical assistance for this project will include a rigorous monitoring and assessment plan in order to fine-tune and improve services provided during the implementation of the program, to maximize its impact.
IDB’s support for Ciudad Mujer reflects the importance of gender equality on the IDB’s work agenda. In November 2010, the IDB approved the new Gender in Development Policy.