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On International Women's Day, Carter Center Issues Recommendations for Gender Equity in Information Access

Contact: In Atlanta, Soyia Ellison,
In Guatemala City, Marvin Pol,

GUATEMALA CITY — International Women's Day this year highlights the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a roadmap for women's rights and equality that was signed by Guatemala and 188 other governments 20 years ago. The declaration underscores the importance of access to information for women in achieving such goals as improved health and economic empowerment through entrepreneurship. As we celebrate Beijing +20, we are reminded of the work still to be done to ensure equities, including on the fundamental right of access to information.

To advance the universal right to information, The Carter Center, in collaboration with Acción Ciudadana, the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, the Presidential Secretariat for Women, the Ombudsman for Indigenous Women, and U.N. Women, has released recommendations aimed at addressing obstacles facing women in Guatemala in the exercise of this right.

The Carter Center's recently published study, Women and the Right of Access to Information in Guatemala, details the inequities that Guatemalan women face in attempting to access information and the importance of information for women's economic empowerment and the protection and exercise of other rights.

The study, carried out in five departments and Guatemala City, included over 600 interviews with community leaders, experts, public agency employees, and citizens entering agencies for information or services. A significant majority of community leaders and experts agreed that women are not able to access information with the same facility as men. Obstacles include poverty, illiteracy, fear, machismo, insufficient time and poor access to public agencies, and lack of knowledge about the right to information and how or where to ask for it.

The Carter Center and its Guatemalan partners recently held a meeting with government and civil society representatives to generate action-oriented recommendations to ensure greater access of information for women, including:

  • Establish an inter-institutional government committee focused specifically on the issue of women and the right to information.
  • Develop information campaigns, using accessible terminology and local languages, to raise women's awareness of their right to access information and to encourage women to exercise that right, and campaigns aimed at sensitizing men to the benefits of this.
  • Conduct gender sensitization and human rights training for all public officials, particularly those working directly with the Offices for Access to Information in Guatemala.
  • Increase government efforts to assure that information more effectively reaches women, including through proactive publication; publishing information in local languages; developing a free telephone hotline for women seeking information; and setting up kiosks at public markets to receive requests for and provide information.
  • Conduct training and build capacity for civil society organizations to enhance their ability to access information and to support women in seeking information.
  • Increase use of community radio as a means of more effectively reaching women.
  • Create civil society liaisons at the municipal level who can assist women in making requests and share published government information.

"While the challenges facing women in the exercise of their fundamental human right to information are many, these recommendations provide a path forward. Fortunately, there are a number of strong and committed supporters of women's right of access to information in Guatemala, both in government and civil society," said Laura Neuman, director of the Carter Center's Global Access to Information Initiative. "We must all work to advance this right in a meaningful way for women."

Read the complete version of the recommendations for action (PDF) >

Read the complete version of the study report (En español) (PDF) >  


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care.  The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.


En ocasión al Día Internacional de la Mujer, se emiten recomendaciones para la equidad de género en el acceso a la información (PDF)

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