National Public Security Academy


National Development Bank of El Salvador


Central Reserve Bank


Agricultural Development Bank


Centres for Development of Micro-enterprises and Small Businesses


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women


National Centre for Agricultural Technology


Prudencia Ayala Feminist Coordinating Committee


Inter-American Commission on Women


National Judiciary Council


Council of Central American Ministers for Women’s Affairs


National Commission on Micro-Enterprises and Small Businesses


Supreme Court of Justice


Commission on the Status of Women


Special Technical Commission


Directorate General of Statistics and Census


Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean


Substantive Equality Training School


Multi-Purpose Household Surveys


Comprehensive Sex Education


Time-use module


Office of the Attorney General of the Republic


Solidarity Fund for Micro-enterprise Families


Social Housing Fund


Women’s Parliamentary Caucus


Information, Education and Communication


International Labour Organization


Institute of Forensic Medicine


National Sports Institute of El Salvador


Salvadoran Institute of Professional Training


International Organization for Migration


Salvadoran Institute for the Advancement of Women


Salvadoran Institute for Child and Adolescent Development


Salvadoran Social Security Institute


Salvadoran Institute of Agrarian Reform


Special Comprehensive Act on a Violence-Free Life for Women


Act on Comprehensive Protection for Children and Adolescents


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Transgender


Act on Equality, Equity and Elimination of Discrimination against Women


Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock


Millennium Development Goals


Ministry of Economic Affairs


Ministry of Education


Ministry of Health


Ministry of Justice and Public Security


Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Ministry of Labour and Social Security


Act for the Development of Micro-Enterprises and Small Businesses


Children and Adolescents


Family Farming Plan


Programme of Comprehensive Care for Small Producers


Temporary Income Support Programme


Human Rights Advocate


Office of the Counsel General of the Republic


National Civil Police


National Plan for Equality and Equity for Salvadoran Women


National Policy on Women


Five-year National Development Plan 2010-2014


Comprehensive and Integrated Health-Service Networks


System of Statistics and Monitoring for Equality


Secretariat for Social Integration


National Statistical System and Gender Indicators


National System for Substantive Equality


Universal Social Protection System


Technical Secretariat of the Office of the President


Supreme Electoral Tribunal


Community Family Health Centres


Specialized Institutional Support Units for Women


United Nations Development Programme


United Nations Population Fund


Technical Executive Unit of the Judiciary


Women’s Entrepreneurship Service


1.The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, hereinafter referred to as “CEDAW” or “the Convention”, was adopted on 1 May 1981 by Executive Decision No. 317 of the Revolutionary Government Junta, ratified on 2 June 1981 through Decree No. 705 of the Revolutionary Government Junta and deposited with the United Nations on 19 August of the same year.

2.Since the 1980s, the country has made various efforts to carve out a just society for women and men; going through a decade in the 1990s in which foundations were laid to achieve advances regarding the recognition of rights for women and girls, a fact that led to an awakening about the issue of gender, which made more distinct progress in the early years of the 21st century and concretized beginning in 2009 with changes of positive actions and establishment of public policies that promote real substantive equality, inclusion and gender equity.

3.The country continues to forge ahead and to tackle major challenges, while remaining mindful of truly respecting human rights for all women and men. Accordingly, pursuant to the commitments the country has assumed and in keeping with article 18 of the Convention, El Salvador presents its combined eighth and ninth report, which has been prepared through a process of inter-institutional consultation coordinated by the Salvadoran Institute for the Advancement of Women and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the participation of a total of 46 institutions and organizations, both governmental (from the three branches of government) and non-governmental, and organizations of civil society and of women, whose contributions represent advances made during the period 2009-2014 under articles of the Convention and comments made by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women at El Salvador’s last oral presentation in October, 2008.

Part IGeneral Information

Sociodemographic description of El Salvador

4.The Republic of El Salvador covers an area of 21,040.79 square kilometres and is divided for political and administrative purposes into 14 departments and 262 municipalities. The capital city is San Salvador. The country is located in the South-West of Central America, bordering the Pacific Ocean, and is the only Central American country without a Caribbean coastline.

5.Its northern border and part of its eastern border are shared with Honduras, while the remainder of the eastern border runs through the waters of the Gulf of Fonseca, shared with Nicaragua. To the west the country is bordered by Guatemala and to the south by the Pacific Ocean. According to the Sixth Population Census and the Fifth Housing Census, carried out between 12 and 27 May 2007 by the Directorate-General of Statistics and Censuses of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the country has a population of 5,744,113 inhabitants, equivalent to 273 people per square kilometre.

6.Publications of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) indicate that El Salvador has become a predominantly urban society in recent decades. The country’s fragmented and unequal cities are home to more than 2 million people living in around half a million households located in areas where living conditions are considered precarious. At present, 58 per cent of the country’s poor live in precarious urban settlements.

Part IIArticles of the Convention and Comments by the CEDAW Committee

Articles 1 and 2

7.In the framework of women’s rights to equality and non-discrimination, the Constitution of the Republic of El Salvador provides in article 3 that “All persons are equal before the law. No restrictions on the exercise of civil rights may be established on the grounds of differences in nationality, race, sex or religion.”

8.El Salvador has taken important legislative strides in protecting women’s rights with the adoption of the Act on Equality, Equity and Elimination of Discrimination against Women (“Ley de Igualdad, Equidad y Erradicación de la Discriminación contra las Mujeres” — LIE or Act on Equality), which has been in force since April of 2011, and the Special Comprehensive Act on a Violence-Free Life for Women (“Ley Especial Integral para una vida libre de Violencia para las Mujeres” — LEIV) in force since January, 2012. These laws confer responsibility on the State for monitoring, protecting and guaranteeing women’s rights. This new legislative framework implies a change in the legal paradigm regarding gender, since it recognizes the human condition of people on completely equal footing, constituting the first legal provision in force in the country which specifically define women as holders of rights.

9.The LIE is a cornerstone of government policy in this field, as it is a law of social interest and general application that encompasses all spheres of the social, economic, political and cultural life of the country. Its purpose is to lay down explicit legal foundations to guide the execution of public policies, to guarantee real and effective equality between women and men, without any form of discrimination in the exercise and enjoyment of legally enshrined rights.

10.The Act on Equality provides that, in keeping with regional and international undertakings assumed by El Salvador with regard to policies of equality and eradication of discrimination, governmental institutions must incorporate the principles of equality and non-discrimination in all policies, standards, procedures and activities pursued in the exercise of their functions.

11.The LEIV provides that violence against women is any act based on their gender that causes death, injury or physical, sexual or psychological suffering, whether in the public or private sphere. Its purpose is to establish, recognize and guarantee the right of women to a life free of violence, by means of public policies geared to detection, prevention, care, protection, redress and sanctions, in order to protect their right to life, physical and moral integrity, freedom, non-discrimination, dignity, effective protection, personal security, real equality and equity.

12.The Act on Comprehensive Protection for Children and Adolescents (LEPINA) entered into force in January, 2011 and aims to guarantee observance of the principle of equality, non-discrimination and equity (article 11, LEPINA), exercise and full enjoyment of rights and to facilitate the fulfilment of duties by all children and adolescents (NNA) in the country, to which end it creates the National System of Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents, with the participation of the family, State and society based on the Constitution of the Republic and international human rights treaties in force in El Salvador, especially the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

13.The Development and Social Protection Act adopted by Legislative Decree No. 647 of 3 April 2014 establishes a legal framework for human development, protection and social inclusion in order to promote, protect and guarantee the fulfilment of people’s rights. The State is the guarantor of its application following a human rights approach, striving to ensure that the population has access to adequate resources for satisfying and exercising their rights and discharging their duties. This act will apply to the whole population, especially those persons who are in a position of poverty, vulnerability, exclusion and discrimination, giving priority to girls and boys, women, young people, older adults, persons with disabilities or in abandonment, indigenous peoples and all who are not fully enjoying their rights.

14.The Government reports that for the first time it has on the books an Act on the Promotion, Protection and Development of Micro-Enterprises and Small Businesses, adopted in April of 2014, which embodies a gender approach, making it a legal tool for “promoting greater access by women to entrepreneurial development on equal footing” (article 1, MYPE Act). This law establishes the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MINEC) as its governing body and the MINEC/National Commission on Micro-Enterprises and Small Businesses (CONAMYPE) as the implementing entity. In this same sector, the country also has a National Policy for the Development of Micro-Enterprises and Small Businesses, adopted by the authorities of MINEC-CONAMYPE in May of 2013, which has introduced the gender approach in a cross-cutting fashion.

15.During the reporting period, the Ministry of Education (MINED) implemented important normative advances governing its activities. The Act on the Teaching Profession and 2008 amendment raise sexual harassment and abuse by teachers or any other member of the educational community to the level of very serious misconduct and prescribe that offenders be punished by suspension and dismissal. The General Education Act and its 2011 amendments prohibit any kind of discrimination, denial of enrolment or expulsion of girls due to pregnancy.

16.The Ministry of Education, through Circular No. 16-2010, urges directors, teachers and administrators of official pre-schools and primary and secondary schools to avoid, report and combat any kind of discrimination against children and adolescents in their human right to education; that education must be quality education, accessible, relevant, appropriate and comprehensive, which means taking into account the whole educational endeavour, and the rights and duties of pupils and students at all levels. Moreover, the LEPINA Act mandates the Ministry of Education to provide education concerning sex, gender and life skills, and the LIEV obliges the Ministry of Education to identify and address any kind of discrimination against women in the educational system, creating substantial leeway for pursuing gender parity and equality.

17.The Legislative Assembly, during its 2009-2012 term, created a three-pronged legislative scheme concerning gender, comprising the Commission on Women and Gender Equality, the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (GPM), made up of legislators from different political parties, and the Gender Unit. The GPM strives to advance legislative initiatives in favour of women, pursuing a consensual agenda, and to ensure that the Gender Equality Policy and action plan are observed in the legislative domain, with the technical support of the Gender Unit. It was created by Legislative Decree No. 852 of 29 September 2011.

18.The threefold legislative initiative which the Legislative Assembly adopted in 2013 generated a working group with terms of reference shaped by the following institutions: The Salvadoran Institute for the Advancement of Women (ISDEMU), Supreme Court of Justice, Office of the Counsel General of the Republic, the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic, and the advisors of the parliamentary groups making up the Legislative Assembly during the 2012-2015 legislative term. The aim was to consider and propose initiatives for legislative harmonization of the normative framework relating to women’s rights.

19.In 2011, the Salvadoran Institute for the Advancement of Women (ISDEMU) established a working agenda jointly with the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus (GPM) with a view to taking up legislative, budgetary and educational issues aimed at the elimination of discrimination against women. In December of 2013 a cooperation agreement was signed between ISDEMU and the Legislative Assembly which aimed at pursuing initiatives to advance national legislation reflecting standards of equality, equity and non-discrimination against women in light of the progress of international law.

20.Measures in the executive sphere. The Secretariat for Social Inclusion (SIS) was created in 2009 to implement an approach supportive of populations faced with exclusion, vulnerability and discrimination. In this regard, SIS organizes directorates for the elderly, for the disabled, and for people of diverse sexual orientation. Each thematic directorate has the mandate to provide orientation and guidance on the content of policies, plans and programmes issued by the governing body in favour of the populations represented.

21.Women’s City (“Ciudad Mujer”) is a governmental program which, by law, is part of the National System of Development and Social Protection and is led by SIS. It provides specialized services for a comprehensive response to gender violence, sexual and reproductive health, economic empowerment, promotion and encouragement of autonomy among women through knowledge and the exercise of their fundamental rights. Its aim is to help improve living conditions for Salvadoran women by facilitating services that satisfy basic needs and strategic interests. The intervention strategy comprises concerted action and integration among 15 State institutions that provide specialized services for women.

22.From 2011 to 2013 five Women’s City centres have come into service: Colón, Usulután, Santa Ana, San Martín and San Miguel. In 2014 the headquarters in Morazán began operation. From March 2011, with the opening of the first Women’s City centre, through the first week of February 2015, 689,438 women have been attended to, with over 1,834,154 services being provided.

23.Women’s City, as a model of civil service management, represents an innovative breakthrough in efficiency, high quality and cultural relevance. It is having a major impact on the lives of women who receive the services, which are rendered with a perspective of comprehensive protection of women’s rights and a social-inclusion approach ensuring that women have the opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social and political life.

24.May 2010 was marked by the adoption of Executive Decree No. 56, relating to “provisions to prevent all forms of discrimination in the civil service based on sexual identity or orientation”.

25.With regard to Gender Units and their operation, as of August 2014 there were 13 institutions with Gender Units, two institutions with Equality Policies, one institution with an Action Plan for Equality, three institutions with gender boards or committees, and nine institutions in the process of setting up a Gender Unit.

26.Executive Decree No. 74 created the “National Committee for implementing Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent resolutions on women, peace and security,” geared to putting forward policies and standards that ensure compliance with said resolutions and ensuring increased representation by women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflicts. The National Committee is made up of a leadership council, a technical commission and a standing advisory group. The chairmanship of this Committee is held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordination with the mechanism for the advancement of women (ISDEMU).

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

Recommendations 7 and 8 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

27.During the reporting period, El Salvador assumed a deep commitment to advance the process of structural and institutional change in the country, helping to gradually transform the deep gaps of inequality between women and men that persist in Salvadoran society. That commitment is expressed in the 2010-2014 Five-year Development Plan (PQD), which lays down as one of its strategies “to foster women’s all-round development in every branch of society under conditions of equity and equality with men.”

28.The management of ISDEMU during the 2009-2014 period reflects an important process of institutional change focusing its efforts towards advancing substantive equality, as called for by CEDAW; strengthening and fostering women’s autonomies in the public and private spheres; and exercising its role as lead agency in the National Women’s Policy and in the normative framework for gender equality, as part of the guidelines followed by the Government of El Salvador.

Ratification of the Optional Protocol

Recommendations 9 and 10 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

29.In March, 2010, ISDEMU submitted an official communication to the Legislative Assembly requesting information about steps towards the ratification of the optional protocol of the Convention. In that communication, ISDEMU expressed its concern about and interest in learning about the status of the ratification process for that instrument, classified under official communication No. 1072-6-2001. It further requested resumption of consideration of said communication in order to make headway towards the ratification of an instrument necessary to the defence of the women’s rights against all forms of discrimination.

30.Similarly, in November of 2014, ISDEMU again transmitted an official communication to the Legislative Assembly reiterating its request for the ratification of the Optional Protocol of CEDAW (Communication No. 1072-6-2001) with a view to its subsequent entry into force, as part of the normative framework fostering equality and non-discrimination for women in El Salvador.

31.The Government of El Salvador recognizes the obstacles faced due to non-ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention and the reservation on article 29 (1) of the Convention, and expresses its firm determination to pursue the process of ratification in order to ensure full application of the Convention and the attainment of equality between women and men.

Visibility of the Convention

Recommendations 11 and 12 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

32.Further to the recommendation that it conduct educational programmes about the Convention and women’s rights for professionals of the legal and justice systems, the Salvadoran Government reports the following: The Supreme Court of Justice has signed a framework agreement with the Inter-American Commission of Women (ICM/OAS) for the application of the Convention and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belém do Pará) through its follow-up mechanism (MESECVI), in coordination with the supreme bodies of Mexico, Argentina and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

33.The Technical Executive Unit (UTE) of the Judiciary, in coordination with other institutions of this sector, has designed and implemented a series of training courses aimed at strengthening the capacities of those working in the justice system, as per the details shown in Table 1, Annex 1.

34.The National Civil Police, in the framework of the entry into force of the LIE and LEIV Acts, has developed a process of training aimed at training operational police personnel on the contents of laws and on the approach to violence against women. (See Table 2, Annex 1.) The National Public Security Academy (ANSP) has developed various courses and trainings on gender issues during the period 2012-2014. (See Table 3, Annex 1.)

35.During the period 2009-2014, the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (FRG), through its School for Prosecutors, conducted several trainings about femicide and on the approach to violence against women. (See Table 4, Annex 1.)

36.During the period 2009-2014 the National Judiciary Council’s Judicial Training School designed a series of courses and modules to provide education and training to male and female judges, as per the details shown in Table 5, Annex 1.

National Machinery for the Advancement of Women

Recommendations 15 and 16 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

37.ISDEMU was created as a national institution for the advancement of women through Legislative Decree 644 of 29 February 1996, responding to the commitments assumed by El Salvador at the World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. The institutional management of ISDEMU during the reporting period reflects an important process of institutional transformation and strengthening of its role as the lead entity of public policies for women’s rights. The budget of ISDEMU comes from the country’s general budget, and increased from $2,225,686 in 2008 to $5,687,245 in 2014. The Institute’s staff grew from 151 people (119 women and 32 men) in 2009 to 264 (232 women and 32 men) in 2014. See figures 1 and 2, Annex 2.

38.The scope of activity of the Institute is determined by provisions of the Act creating it and by regulations; the National Policy on Women (PNM); the Act on Equality, Equity and Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Special Comprehensive Act on a Violence-Free Life for Women.

39.The National Policy on Women was updated in 2010 and its measures were aligned with the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. This policy is a coherent set of relevant and viable measures that constitute added value for gender equality in the country, which require specific arrangements to be implemented and which need to be executed by competent institutions under the leadership and guidance of ISDEMU.

40.In 2011, with the adoption of the Act on Equality, Equity and Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Institute facilitated the formulation of the National Plan for Equality and Equity for Salvadoran Women (PNIEMS) and its crosscutting strategy for 2012-2017. This plan is a policy and technical instrument reflecting the State’s commitment to the full application of the constitutional principle of equality and non-discrimination for women and men. Further, in December 2013, the National Plan for Substantive Equality (SNIS) was introduced — a mechanism for work and coordination that enjoys the participation of institutions from the three branches of El Salvador’s government.

41.In 2012, with the entry into force of the LEIV Act, the Institute assisted in the formation of the Special Technical Commission (CET) in August of that year. The Commission is responsible for ensuring operational viability of the National Policy for Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence and its 2013-2015 National Plan. The Commission is made up of 20 institutions from the three branches of government.

42.At the same time, cooperation and work relations have been strengthened between the Institute and the Office of the National Counsel for the Defence of Human Rights (PDDH). In 2009 a letter of understanding was signed providing for inter-institutional cooperation between these two entities, aimed at achieving cooperation in safeguarding the rights of women. In 2014 parameters were established for renewal of the Agreement with the new authorities of the PDDH.

Data collection and analysis

Recommendations 17 and 18 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

43.The Salvadoran Government reports that in 2013 the Institute designed the System of Statistics and Monitoring for Equality (SEMI), for the purpose of fulfilling article 14 of the LIE Act. This system is made up of three modules: (1) a national statistical system and gender indicators; (2) indicators of follow-up of the PNM; and (3) indicators for the PNIEMS.

44.Through the Institute, El Salvador has designed a proposed National System of Gender Statistics in accordance with the provisions of article 30 of the LIEV Act. This system is a management tool providing information on violence against women which makes available a shared data base about the types and modalities of violence in the country. The institutions providing information are as follows: MJSP, PGR, FGR, CSJ, MINSAL, MINEC, MINTRAB PNC and institutions providing services to women who are faced with violence.

45.During the reporting period, ISDEMU has developed reports on the situation and status of Salvadoran women based on the areas of the PNM and has developed and published annual reports on the situation of violence against women. It has conducted research and specific diagnostic reviews of women’s groups, notably the following: “Measurement and characterization of employment generated for women from the public and private sectors”, “Situation of Rural Salvadoran Women in the Economic Sphere”, “The Historic Current of Women’s Involvement in Citizen Politics in El Salvador”, and “Report on the Situation and Condition of Salvadoran Women, 2009-2014.”

46.Surveys and data collection. The Government reports that DIGESTYC has developed three surveys at the request of ISDEMU: (i) Use of Time — Development of the Module on Use of Time (EUT) as an annex to the Multi-Use Household Survey for the years 2005 and 2010; (ii) Violence against women, including two pilot trials, a poll on perception of violence against women and a survey on violence against women, and (iii) an independent survey: “Characterization of older adults for the diagnosis of the Older Adults’ Rights (Nuestros Mayores Derechos) Programme”.

Non-governmental organizations and women’s associations

Recommendations 19 and 20 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

47.In 2011 the Institute signed an agreement with the Prudencia Ayala Feminist Coordinating Committee for the purpose of setting up mechanisms to facilitate dialogue and joint work between the two entities, to develop initiatives that strengthen the process of implementation of national and international legislation fostering substantive equality and women’s right to a life free of violence, and to facilitate their cooperation in policy-making processes.

48.As laid down by the law creating ISDEMU, there are two full-fledged representatives and two alternates of the national women’s organizations, participating with full rights to deliberate and vote in the ISDEMU Governing Board. As Governing Board members, they also participate in the Special Technical Commission and the National System for Substantive Equality (SNIS) which, in its rules of procedure, contemplates the participation of three representatives from women’s organizations.

Sexist stereotypes

Recommendations 21 and 22 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

49.Pursuant to its leadership functions under the National Policy on Women (PNM) and the Equality Act, ISDEMU has developed various strategies aimed at promoting a social and institutional culture of equality. Noteworthy among these are: generation and dissemination of analytical documents; awareness campaigns at Community level; awareness processes aimed at women organized in the territories and at public servants in the various portfolios of the State; organizing artistic and cultural events that highlight the role of women in the country’s development; dissemination and assistance in creating guidelines for an organizational culture of equality, geared to gender mechanisms in public institutions; production of the radio programme Voz Mujer (“Women’s Voice”), inter alia.

50.The Technical Executive Unit (UTE) of the Judiciary is responsible for coordinating technical assistance, training and public education; observation, specialization and research activities for the Justice Sector. This Unit has coordinated efforts that are part of the Institutional Strategic Plan, with the aim of disseminating the new rules of women’s rights.

51.The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MTPS) has made changes in the guidelines for developing internal work rules in corporations. Starting in 2009, these reforms introduced inclusive language and affirmative actions; as a result, 1,380 draft rules containing inclusive language have been written.

52.The Ministry of Education is heading up inter-agency efforts aimed at preventing sexual harassment, abuse and other forms of gender violence in educational communities, which encompass 26 governmental institutions, NGOs and international agencies. It also has a protocol for action in addressing sexual violence in educational communities and a roadmap for the care of victims of sexual violence.

Article 3Guarantee of Basic Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

53.The Institute has formulated institutional guidance and guidelines to facilitate implementation, follow-up and monitoring of the crosscutting strategy for the principle of equality; these include: (i) The National Plan for Equality and Equity for Salvadoran Women (PNIEMS), which it is the main tool of Salvadoran public policy on equality for women, with a national, sectoral and territorial scope; and the National Policy on Access to a Violence-Free Life for Women, which is based on article 16 of the LEIV Act and constitutes a long-term political and strategic framework to guarantee women’s right to a violence-free life through measures including detection, prevention, care, protection, redress and sanctioning of violence against women in any of their manifestations.

54.It is worth noting that both instruments were formulated in a participatory mode, through a process of nationwide consultation, by means of regional workshops, which made it possible to ensure validation and commitment, not only by public institutions but also by human rights non-governmental organizations made up of women and civil society movements.

55.As mentioned in paragraph 32, in December of 2013 ISDEMU instituted the National System for Substantive Equality (SNIS), a mechanism for coordination of government institutions responsible for compliance with national rules concerning equality, providing monitoring of advances that each institution makes in favour of women, and encouraging accountability. With the creation of SNIS, ISDEMU is helping to make room for technical follow-up of the different areas and carving out a high-level policy space for their advancement. SNIS has specific mechanisms and technical tools for oversight and monitoring.

56.The Special Technical Commission was formed in August 2012 to ensure the functioning of the LEIV and the Public Policy for a Violence-Free Life for Women; it is coordination is the responsibility of ISDEMU as the lead institution for the LEIV Act. The Commission’s strategic vision aims at creating the links and proposals necessary to articulate sectoral responses by the State with a view to eradicating violence against women.

Article 4Temporary special measures

Recommendations 13 and 14 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

57.The Technical Secretariat of the Office of the President implements policies and programmes aimed at narrowing social inequality and gender gaps. Various social programmes incorporate affirmative action to promote greater participation of women and to afford them access to services and programmes developed by government action.

58.Among the programmes is the Temporary Income Support Programme which has established a participation rate by women of 60 per cent, promoting training for women in non-traditional jobs; the Presidential Programme of Territories in Progress, which provides for gender parity in participation in the advisory councils of the territory, with women constituting an average of 47 per cent of its members nationwide; the Older Adults’ Rights («Nuestros Mayores Derechos») Programme, which places special emphasis on women, with 52.3 per cent of older adults receiving the universal basic pension being women; the Programme of Comprehensive Care for Small Producers (PAIPPE), which has designed a chapter for women producers accounting for 57 per cent.

59.Some social programmes coordinated by the Technical Secretariat of the Office of the President in the framework of the Universal Social Protection System include strategies aimed at transforming sexist stereotypes. One of these is the Public Works Job Creation Programme, which promotes small-scale road building enterprises the majority of which are made up of women engaged in maintenance work on the highway network, which has traditionally been a male occupation. Rural Communities in Solidarity, in its education and health voucher programmes, provides training to qualifying families; its new training protocol in 2013 incorporated the rights and gender approach, pursuing co-responsibility by women and men for family care and transformation of gender stereotypes.

60.With regard to political participation, on 14 February 2013 the Legislative Assembly adopted Decree No. 307, which contains amendments to articles 37 and 88 of the Political Parties Act. These articles constitute a temporary measure (2013-2027), intended while they are in force to create the necessary conditions for political parties to place on their slates at least the established percentage (30 per cent) of women candidates for popularly elected positions.

61.An inter-institutional cooperation agreement signed between ISDEMU and MTPS in July of 2014 has as its main aim developing affirmative actions to eradicate discrimination against women and promoting women’s access to a violence-free life in the workplace.

Article 5

62.ISDEMU has opened a Substantive Equality Training School (EFIS) and reports that since 2013 training and awareness-raising courses have been provided to civil servants on the normative framework for equality and on women’s right to a violence-free life. The courses have been attended by 3,884 people.

63.The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has designed a self-assessment form for compliance with labour rights, containing a catalogue of labour rights for women, aimed at prevention and at ensuring compliance with labour rights by employers and knowledge of their rights by working women and men. The Ministry has conducted trainings at the national level, training a total of 569 employees on gender issues, the national body of rules on gender equality (LIE and LEIV), CEDAW and human rights.

64.The Women’s City programme, through its collective education module, pursues the aim of empowering women regarding their political, economic, social and civil rights, as well as promoting their equality and preventing gender violence. In this context it has implemented days of reflection, courses, workshops, cultural activities, conferences and talks in which some 15,000 women have participated at Women’s City locations. In addition, the programme has trained about 500 officials of the different institutions that comprise it on issues of gender violence, gender equality, gender communication and language and the national policy framework for gender equality.

Article 6Trafficking

Recommendations 25 and 26 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

65.On 16 October 2014, the Legislative Assembly adopted the Special Act against Trafficking in Persons, which aims at detection, prevention, prosecution and punishment of the crime of trafficking, as well as care, projection and redress of the rights for victims. This enactment replaces the treatment of this offense in the Penal Code, through legislative Decree 824/2014 creating said Act.

66.The LEIV Act, in Chapter II, Specific Procedural Provisions, of article 57, prescribes the procedural safeguards available to women facing acts of violence. It provides that women who are victims of trafficking shall enjoy the rights established by law and, in addition, will not be subject to punishments or impediments established in migratory laws, will be able to stay in the country in keeping with applicable law, and will have the right to legal counsel.

67.El Salvador has established various institutional mechanisms for directing and coordinating investigation of illegal people smuggling and trafficking in persons through the Attorney General’s Office, Special Prosecutor’s Unit for People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons. This institution has also created the “Missing Angel” (“Ángel Desaparecido 14”) alert system which has a free hotline for reporting cases, to search for children and adolescents who may have disappeared for various reasons, including some form of smuggling or trafficking.

68.In 2012 the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP), through the National Council on Trafficking in Persons, adopted a national policy on a comprehensive and effective approach to trafficking in persons, which provides guidance for the design and implementation of public policies dealing with the approach to this offense; it establishes its formulation and execution on a nationwide level; and it advances a proposed comprehensive law against trafficking and other reforms and relevant harmonisations necessary for its implementation.

69.Bilateral, regional and international cooperation agreements. At the regional level, there are the following agreements and instruments with regard to trafficking in persons: (i) Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of El Salvador and the Republic of Guatemala on the protection of victims of trafficking in persons and illegal transport of migrants; (ii) Memorandum of Understanding between the United Mexican States and the Republic of El Salvador for the protection of persons, especially children and adolescents, who are victims of trafficking in persons and illegal smuggling of migrants; (iii) Regional guidelines for special protection in cases of the repatriation of child victims of trafficking adopted at the twelfth Regional Conference on Migration; (iv) Regional Guidelines for the Preliminary Identification of Profiles and Referring Mechanisms of Migrant Populations in Vulnerability Conditions adopted during the 18th Regional Conference on Migration. El Salvador is an active member of the Regional Coalition against Trafficking in Persons comprising Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, Panama y México.

70.Prevention measures. In December of 2013, ISDEMU launched a national campaign under the theme “Trafficking in women is a crime, let’s speak out” seeking to raise awareness among girls, adolescents and women about the crime, and about the importance of preventing, detecting and reporting it. A communications diagnostic study was done to obtain a grasp of the state of knowledge, perceptions and attitudes on the issue among girls and women in different parts of the country to whom the campaign was being directed.

71.In May of 2013 the National Council against Trafficking, the Regional Coalition against Trafficking in Persons and the Inter-American Development Bank launched a campaign under the motto “Life’s byways can be unexpected” in order to inform and alert young women in Central America to the dangers they might face seeking a better life in other countries, and to give them guidance enabling them to recognize the offense of trafficking and thereby help to reduce the number of victims.

72.Capacity-building. The National Council against Trafficking has formulated the following instruments enhancing mechanisms of coordination between Salvadoran institutions working to combat and prevent trafficking in persons. (i) Guidelines for the Foreign Service of El Salvador on Trafficking in Persons; (ii) An inter-institutional coordination protocol for bringing trafficking cases before the courts; (iii) The El Salvador procedural handbook for the repatriation of child and adolescent victims of trafficking in human beings; (iv) Handbook on shelter care of victims of human trafficking in El Salvador; (v) Immigration officer’s handbook on detection and immediate response to victims of the crime of human trafficking; (vi) Handbook on psycho-social care of victims of trafficking and vulnerable persons; (vi) Guidelines for the initial care of victims of trafficking in human beings.

73.In June of 2013 the ISDEMU Programme of Comprehensive Care for a Violence-Free Life for Women began a series of trainings on the subject of trafficking, aimed at all personnel of the institution who provide care to users, to incorporate knowledge and capacities so as to be able to detect and provide guidance to women about this issue.

74.Protection of victims and services provided. In 2013 ISDEMU opened the first specialized shelter for women faced with human trafficking, constituting an important step in addressing this issue. The Salvadoran Institute for Child and Adolescent Development (ISNA) implements a programme of protection of child victims of abuse by sexual exploitation and human trafficking and operates a specialized shelter for girls and adolescents who are victims of trafficking.

75.Among other efforts, border measures have been strengthened for detecting and combating the crime of trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling through the General Directorate for Migration and Aliens. A Migration Agent’s Handbook has also been prepared, constituting a guide for detecting victims of human trafficking and the traffickers. The National Civil Police has a handbook on care services for victims of trafficking in persons, which was sponsored by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

76. Despite efforts by the State to address the problem, the inadequate investigation of cases of trafficking in women and girls, and the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators, remains a weakness. According to information from the National Council against Trafficking, as of December 2012 there had been 43 convictions for this crime. (See Tables 1, 2 and 3, Annex 3.)

Article 7Political participation and participation in public life

Recommendations 27 and 28 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

77. In March of 2014 ISDEMU signed the “Pact for the Defence of Civil and Political Rights of Women” with the candidates for President of the Republic (2014-2019), as a commitment to achieve substantive equality and the strengthening of democracy in a society in which equal rights and opportunities for women and men should prevail. The pact was signed by the new President, Salvador Sánchez Cerén (2014-2019).

78. In November 2013, ISDEMU signed an inter-institutional cooperation agreement with the Supreme Electoral Tribunal establishing working mechanisms to implement the crosscutting strategy with the principle of equality in electoral campaigns. In this context, a Guide to Equality and Non-discrimination in Electoral Campaigns was developed as a practical tool addressed to political parties, with the aim of promoting women’s participation in popular elections. The guide was disseminated during the first half of 2014, with the official representatives of the ten political parties enrolled with the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

79. Beginning with the parliamentary and local council elections of 2012 the Supreme Electoral Tribunal has taken steps to ensure that the LGBT population, and particularly transgender persons, can take part in elections. The results could be seen in the 2014 elections, for which the Tribunal accredited 30 persons from the LGBT community as electoral observers to safeguard the voting process.

80. In 2013 the Supreme Electoral Tribunal included a crosscutting perspective on inclusion and tolerance of the LGBT population in the context of voting centres and polling station boards and issued a public statement regarding both voting rounds with considerations relevant to this sector of the population.

81. Since 2013, the Salvadoran Institute for Child and Adolescent Development (ISNA) has been implementing programmes for the advancement of rights in order to help adolescents exercise their citizenship by strengthening their life skills, rights and duties, with an emphasis on participation with a view to having a political impact on shaping their personal, community and family environment. The program encourages participation, and strengthens and empowers teenage girls to actively participate in the governing bodies of their school or community centres.

82. With regard to women’s participation in municipal councils, a slight increase occurred during 2012-2015 in positions of councillor, which rose to 18.7 per cent; those serving as alderman 26.3 per cent and those serving as alternate aldermen rising to 31.5 per cent. (See Table No. 1, Annex 4) In the Legislative Assembly, the number of women serving as full-fledged members of the Assembly increased, rising from 20.2 per cent in 2009-2012 to 27.4 per cent in 2012-2015. (See Table 2, Annex 4.)

83. The Supreme Court of Justice is composed of fifteen magistrates, six of whom (40 per cent) are women for the period 2012-2015. The chambers are composed as follows: Constitutional Chamber, five men; Disputes Chamber, three women and one man; Penal Chamber, two women and one man; Civil Chamber, one woman and two men. (See Table 3, Annex 4.)

84. Article 22 of the Political Parties Act prescribes the following obligation: political parties must “introduce procedures within their bylaws to promote participation by women and young people in their executive organs and in candidacies for popularly elected positions.” Accordingly, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal has developed Regulations pursuant to the Political Parties Act (published in Official Journal No. 103, volume 403, 5 June 2014).

85. ISDEMU has sought to revitalize civic involvement by women through the creation of 14 advisory and civic oversight councils, designed with territorial coverage and geared to civic participation by women in terms of their status and position, seeking to have an impact on decision-making and to ensure respect for their rights. The advisory councils are made up of 940 women leaders representing each of the country’s departments and 231 advisory councils at the municipal level, with participation by 8,613 women leaders from different cantons, communities and hamlets constituting municipalities.

86. In 2013, ISDEMU conducted a national campaign to boost civic interest in defending women’s rights, with the aim of strengthening the social fabric, organization and empowerment of women in municipalities and promoting social organization in defence of women’s rights. More than 20,000 women from different cities around the country took part in the campaign.

Article 8Representation at the international level

87. In keeping with article 8, the State encourages women’s participation and representation within its own institutions at all levels in international meetings, in keeping with the principles of equality and non-discrimination; an example is their participation in various United Nations commissions, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission for Social Development, and the Commission on Population and Development, among others.

88. Similarly, female ISDEMU officials have represented the country and the institution in fora such as the ECLAC Regional Conference on Women, the Inter‑American Commission of Women, the Council of Ministers of Women of Central America and the Dominican Republic, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Women officials of the Foreign Ministry have represented the country at hearings before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the context of cases relating to El Salvador before these fora. Women participated in the 131st session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly and related meetings.

89. Similarly, during the oral consideration of the 3rd, 4th and 5th report of El Salvador under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the delegation was made up entirely of women. Noteworthy also is the appointment of a Salvadoran woman, Dr. Victoria Marina de Avilés, as Secretary General of the Central American Integration System (SICA), thus becoming the first woman to occupy that post.

90. Moreover, it is reported that a large number of women are working in the Foreign Service, some of them holding positions of representation in Embassies and Consulates of the Government of El Salvador. During 2013, the total number of people working abroad was 464, of which 51.1 per cent were women and 48.9 per cent were men; while in 2014 (January-June), 459 people were working abroad, of which 49.9 per cent are women and 50.1 per cent men. (See Table 4, Annex 4.)

Article 9Nationality

91. On 9 February 2015 the Permanent Mission of El Salvador before the United Nations in New York carried out the deposit before the appropriate UN office of three international instruments, including the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, demonstrating the country’s commitment to observance of its international undertakings in this area.

Article 10Education

Recommendations 29 and 30 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

92. The Salvadoran State, through its machinery for the advancement of women and its legislative branch, has politically and legally incorporated the principle of equality and non-discrimination against women, as indicated in the discussion of articles 2 and 3 in this report.

93. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has strengthened literacy programmes, declaring some 22 municipalities free of illiteracy. The national literacy programme encourages citizen involvement and volunteerism with the establishment of literacy circles. Between 2009 and 2013, 172,479 women have been taught to read and write; of these 120,125 have reached the first level of literacy, which means 68 per cent of the total population served; and 52,354 women have reached the second and third levels of literacy (sixth grade), which represents 67 per cent of total population served at these levels. Of total number of women reaching literacy, 75 per cent live in rural areas and 25 per cent in urban areas. (See Illiteracy rate Table 1, Annex 5.)

94. Another contribution in this context is being made by the Flexible Education Schemes Programme, also run by the Ministry of Education, which aims to ensure that students stay in school, having a positive impact on women, since it opens up the opportunity to complete their secondary schooling and go on to higher education and/or technical training. During the period 2011-2012, this programme served 20,549 women in urban areas and 3,998 women in rural areas.

Article 11Employment

Recommendations 31 and 32 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

95. The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has a special unit for prevention of discriminatory acts under the Directorate General for Labour Inspection, which receives reports of discriminatory acts and wrongful dismissals (pregnant workers and union leaders), placing emphasis on priority groups, namely disabled people and the LGBT population.

96. The government reports that a trend persists for women to find employment opportunities in the service sector and the informal sector of the economy, in contrast to men, who predominantly work in the formal sector of industry and agriculture. For women, the labour participation rate, which measures the degree of involvement of a population in the labour market, has been rising from 2008 to 2012, reaching 47.3 per cent in 2008 and 47.9 per cent in 2012. This occupational segmentation leading to unequal participation of women and men in the productive sector of the economy is determined by gender conditions related to sexual division of labour. (See Figure 1, Annex 6.)

97. In the period 2009-2013 the salary gap between women and men has shown a downward trend from 18.6 per cent to 14.3 per cent, meaning that in 2013 women would have had to increase their wages by 14.3 per cent in order to equal what men were receiving.

98. With regard to women’s disadvantaged situation in the labour market, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security reports that a number of initiatives are being pursued with a view to increasing women’s participation, including the holding of job fairs which aim at enhancing supply and demand of jobs. As part of this mechanism, the Ministry provides to all placement services means for guidance about opportunities for placement and job training for job-seekers. (See Table 1, Annex 6.)

99. In pursuance of the Act to Protect, Promote and Support Breastfeeding, the Ministry has implemented a Plan to Monitor the Right to Breast Feeding, whose main purpose is to ensure that working women are being permitted to breast-feed their children and that a dedicated room has been established in the workplace where women who are nursing can collect and preserve breast-milk. It is reported that there have been 1,009 inspections on compliance of the law on permission to breast feed at 993 companies, and that 532 enterprises have set up such rooms.

100. With regard to protecting women’s labour rights in the maquila industry, the Ministry, through the General Directorate for Labour Inspection, has implemented a Plan for the Monitoring of Women’s Labour Rights in the Maquila Industry (free zones and warehouses for inward processing), fulfilling commitments acquired in the agenda of labour rights of women in the maquila industry of Central America.

101. The Salvadoran Institute of Professional Training (INSAFORP) has provided training sessions through the Temporary Income Support Programme contemplating affirmative action for women, laying down a participation quota for women of 60 per cent women heads of household (for 2012 women’s participation attained 72.8 per cent). This programme features a vocational training for employability component for each participant and includes action against horizontal segregation in employment, since it trains women in non-traditional occupations. In the period 2011-2013, a total of 44,469 people were trained, 71.7 per cent women and 28.3 per cent men. (See Table 2, Annex 6.)

102. The Women’s City programme, through its economic autonomy module, provides services to ensure that women find opportunities for incomes, information, goods and services that support their involvement in the national economy and help them to self-sufficiency. This programme is designed to strengthen the productive and entrepreneurial skills of women and to facilitate their integration into the productive areas of the country. Through September of 2014, the different Women’s City venues offered a total of 1,520 courses, graduating 27,851 women to date. This venture has also helped to generate various women’s enterprises, both collective and individual, in the areas of commerce, shoe production, agro-food, textiles and clothing, arts and crafts, pharmaceutical chemistry, and services, among others ventures. (See Table 3, Annex 6.)

103. The Salvadoran Social Security Institute reports the creation of a health and maternity scheme for male and female domestic workers, pursuant to Executive Decree 74, issued on 31 May 2010. The decree has enabled this sector of the population to have access to social security. The scheme benefits women, since they make up 91.2 per cent of domestic workers. According figures from the Institute, as of April 2013, a total of 2,326 people were enrolled, 90.5 per cent of these being women and 9.5 per cent being men. (See Table 4, Annex 6.)

104. As regards compliance with ILO Convention 189 concerning decent work for domestic workers, this measure is reportedly under consideration by the Labour Commission of the Legislative Assembly.

105. In September of 2014 the Ministry of Labour and Social Security granted legal personality to the Union of Remunerated Home Workers of El Salvador (SIMUTHRES), which has 36 women founding members.

106. El Salvador has 455 active unions, of which 182 have secretariats for women or the like. As regards women’s union membership, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security reports that 43,347 women and 139,013 men belong to unions. Leadership and administrative positions in governing bodies include 1,363 women and 2,886 men.

107. ISDEMU reports that in 2012 it signed a framework cooperation agreement with the Central Reserve Bank, the Ministry of Economic Affairs — Directorate General of Statistics and Census and ECLAC aimed at establishing a satellite account for unremunerated work in the home, in order to estimate the economic value for the national accounts of the contributions made by homes to the economy, conferring an accounting value on the work done by people for generating necessary services intended for the satisfaction of their needs.


Recommendation 35 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

108. Flowing from the reform of the health sector, a series of policy measures have been developed to eliminate discrimination against women in the area of medical care, devising a new model of care which gives priority to promotion and prevention as part of the National Health Policy.

109. The Ministry of Health has developed guidance instruments such as Technical Guidelines for healthcare services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons; Technical Guidelines for Comprehensive Care of all forms of Violence; Technical Guidelines for Promotion of the Human Right to Health; Policy on Sexual and Reproductive Health; and Institutional Policy of the Ministry of Health for Gender Equality and Equity, which is in the process of being formally adopted.

110. To ensure continued provision of free services during the pregnancy, childbirth and post-partum periods, and proper nutrition during pregnancy and nursing, the Ministry of Health has formulated Technical Guidelines for Women’s Healthcare during pre-conception, childbirth, the puerperal stage and the newborn stage; Technical Operational Guidelines for the Childbirth Plan Strategy; and has built the National Women’s Hospital, a tertiary referral hospital provided with the necessary equipment and staffed with new human resources. This infrastructure replaces the Dr. Raúl Arguello Escolán National Maternity Hospital.

111. With respect to provision of health services to transgender persons, care of transgender women has been separated from care of transgender men and measures have been adopted to ensure respect for their gender orientation at the time it is identified in health care establishments.

112. The Ministry of Health has also created a National Network of Laboratories consisting of five regional laboratories, shortening the time required for intake and response, and reducing cost to the population, providing inter alia breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings. By providing additional human resources, it has been possible to extend coverage of gynaecological-obstetric services to 24 hours/7 days a week at 20 of the 28 maternity clinics nationwide, permitting monitoring of indicators related to childbirth and contributing to reduction of maternal mortality.

113.In August of 2013, with the entry into force of the Act to Promote, Protect and Support Maternal Breast Feeding, breast milk banks have been implemented to ensure nutrition of newborns who cannot be nursed by their mothers. These banks are located at hospitals: the National Women’s Hospital and the Santa Ana and San Miguel Hospitals, which have collected 1,411 litres of mother’s milk, benefiting 437 newborns.

114.Sixteen hostels for expectant mothers have been established, especially in geographical areas that are difficult to reach, making it possible for expectant mothers to find timely access to attended delivery in hospital.

115.Community Health Units increased from 377 in 2009 to 708 in 2014, with 38 units being specialized. The Ministry of Health has developed six Specialized Community Health Teams which are constituted according to installed capacity, demand for care and population serviced; these are first-level-of-care teams which deliver specialized services at the most appropriate location, primarily in non‑hospital settings.

116. The Community Health Teams operating at the Women’s City locations are exclusively for women and have specialized staff in the areas of obstetrics-gynaecology, internal medicine, paediatrics, nursing, psychology, dentistry, health education, clinical laboratory professionals, radiologists, radiology technicians, nutritionists, statisticians, and staff in other areas. During the period from June of 2013 to May of 2014, services were provided for 16,571 general medical appointments, 63,284 specialized appointments, and 12,683 cytological consultations. From these facilities, 5,799 users were referred on to the National Hospital Network, mainly for pathologies related to pregnancy, pelvic and mammary conditions. Two specialized units for the care of women facing violence have been created at the hospitals of San Juan de Dios (Santa Ana) and San Rafael (La Libertad).

117. The Government has made progress in reforming the National Health System, bringing services closer to the population through the use of Comprehensive and Integrated Health-Service Networks (RIISS). These networks facilitate access to tertiary-level hospitals through a system of referral, follow-up and inter-consultation starting from the basic Community Family Health Centres (UCSF). Another strategy is support given to the Women’s City programme, which has been helping to foster access to health services, emphasizing sexual and reproductive health, for women in rural areas in the departments where the centres are located.

118. During the period 2009-2013, there has been an increase in consultations and first-time care visits among the female population in the different stages of their lives, covering women who had not received care from other health care providers. The percentage of health care coverage of women has risen very significantly: in 2009 it was 76.45 per cent and for 2013 was 92.02 per cent.

119. The Ministry of Health reports an improvement in the system for monitoring maternal health, which aims to identify causes of severe obstetric morbidity and cases of maternal mortality by keeping records. The reduction of the rate of maternal mortality was from 56 per 100,000 live births in 2009 to 38 per 100,000 live births in 2013, thus fulfilling MDG 5 ahead of schedule. (See Figure 1, Annex 7.)

120. The Ministry of Health reports that through the Mesoamerica Health 2015 initiative, early prenatal registration increased from 65.1 per cent in 2010 to 72.2 per cent in 2013; and the rate of attended births increased from 78.3 per cent in 2010 to 95.7 per cent in 2013.

Recommendation 36 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

121. In light of the 1997 law prohibiting all forms of abortion, El Salvador recognizes the limitations this situation creates for the full enjoyment and exercise of sexual and reproductive rights by Salvadoran women.

122. Despite this legislative constraint, the Salvadoran Government expresses its commitment to guaranteeing the human rights of women within the bounds of the law and has pursued important public policy measures that have had significant impacts on the lives of women, such as access to comprehensive maternal health services, which has contributed to reducing the maternal mortality rate beyond the goal established by MDG 5, as indicated in paragraph 120; more accessible health services closer to the population; design and implementation of the instruments that govern the response of the health care system to violence against women; and promotion of sexual and reproductive rights.

123. By virtue of this commitment and to demonstrate its interest in advancing women’s rights, the Salvadoran Government in 2010 withdrew its reservations to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development. Efforts have likewise been exerted to protect and attend to girls and women facing situations of vulnerability or violence.

124. With respect to access to methods of planning or contraception, El Salvador has different regulatory policy documents promulgated by the Ministry of Health, including the Technical Manual for Services in Family Planning and the Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy. These measures foster free and informed choice of family planning methods, temporary and permanent, and lay down lines of action to provide comprehensive family planning, and a specific section on contraception addressed to the adolescent population. (See Table 1, Annex 7, regarding family planning services.)

125. It is also reported that healthcare facilities are stressing the right of adolescents to receive comprehensive, timely, quality care, with emphasis on sexual and reproductive health and a gender approach; to that end, a peer strategy has been formulated under the themes “Training of young people as outreach workers on comprehensive health care”, “Training of young people as outreach workers on sexual and reproductive health”, and the strategy of “Education Groups for Pregnant Teens”. For 2013 the statistic on pregnant adolescents remains at 31.63 per cent in relation to total pregnancies among women age 20 and over.

126. With respect to statistics reported by the Ministry of Health on women treated for miscarriage and septic abortions per year, and regarding the total number of deaths due to abortion, see Annex 7.

127. There has been a more robust approach to HIV, with attention being focused on the development of protocols such as the Clinical Guide to Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, one of the aims being to facilitate a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and inter-sectoral approach to people affected by rape. The national information, education and contact strategy for a Change in Behaviour (IEC/CC) is intended for at-risk populations, adolescents, sex workers, the LGBT community, people with disabilities, persons deprived of their liberty, itinerant populations and uniformed personnel, with a view to improving health according to the strategies laid down by the National Health Policy.

128. Among the Information, Education and Communication activities conducted by the Ministry of Health, four publicity campaigns have been mounted on prevention of HIV, aimed at: (1) Encouraging the taking of the HIV test, which has been available since 2007 through June of 2013; (2) Promoting the “Walk for AIDS” marking World Aids Day on 1 December 2012; (3) Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, in February of 2013; and (4) Countering discrimination against people living with HIV, in April of 2013.

129. Since 2009, the Ministry of Education has implemented a model for preventing HIV-AIDS through educational communities in El Salvador, aimed at strengthening activities at schools, embodying a preventive, non-discriminatory approach to HIV and Human Rights, involving teachers and students, intervening in 1,044 educational establishments nationally and training 19,800 teachers (12,422 women and 7,378 men). The Ministry also has various methodological protocols for preventing HIV following a human rights approach for teachers of the first, second and third levels of basic and secondary education; and an HIV prevention manual for teachers.

130. The Ministry of Education has done the curriculum groundwork for Comprehensive Sex Education for the first, second and third levels of secondary education; methodological manuals for development of curriculum enrichment in comprehensive sex education and a Basic Comprehensive Course on Sex Education for teachers at all levels. Training has been provided under this scheme at 760 schools to 2,433 teachers (1,752 women and 681 men) who have worked with 31,000 students (16,120 women and 14,880 men).

131. The Ministry has also been at work on a family guide for comprehensive sex education which is in the process of being technically delivered to teaching personnel trained in comprehensive sex education. Up to 2014, 14,520 mothers and fathers had been addressed by 726 teachers.

132. The Salvadoran Institute for Child and Adolescent Development also attends to adolescent girls and women who are deprived of their freedom pursuant to a penal court judgment, developing the health component contained in the Framework Programme for Comprehensive Care of Adolescents Subject to Juvenile Penal Responsibility. Since 2013 it has also conducted programmes to promote rights including a “Volunteer Outreach Workers Training Programme” and participation groups which contain among their components and thematic aspects comprehensive sex education, sexual and reproductive health, adolescent pregnancy and HIV prevention.

Article 13

133. Family benefits. Public institutions such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Supreme Court of Justice, the National Registration Centre and the Office of the Human Rights Advocate offer child care services as part of the employment benefits they provide. As regards the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, it has provided a child care space as part of its services to users since August of 2011. Service was provided to 1,781 children through May of 2014.

134. Bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit. During the reporting period, the Act on the Financial System for Promotion of Development was approved, giving rise to the National Development Bank of El Salvador, which administers the Programme of Guarantees for businesswomen and women entrepreneurs who are attended to at the locations of Women’s City. As of 31 August 2014, it had granted a total of 563 credits for an average amount of $556.49 per credit.

135. In October 2014, the Bank launched its Women’s Bank programme (Programa Banca Mujer) aimed at promoting economic development and financial inclusion for Salvadoran women entrepreneurs by three avenues: credit lines, guarantees for training, and technical assistance.

136. The Solidarity Fund for Micro-enterprise Families has given priority to providing financial services to Salvadoran women, creating special programmes or credit lines that make credit more accessible to women, through the signature of agreements with other public institutions such as the Secretariat for Social Integration and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

137. The Agricultural Development Bank has promoted access to credits for women’s ventures at the national level, making available a framework of additional guarantees and insurance schemes to support them. In the non-agricultural lines, designed mainly to strengthen small businesses and micro-enterprises in commerce, services, arts and crafts and industry, under the Micro-credits Programme, there is a majority of women as regards the number of credits (65.7 per cent women) and as regards the amounts (58.7 per cent granted to women).

138. Regarding credits granted in different sectors of production and in commerce, there is a majority participation by women as regards the number of credits (62 per cent women and 38 per cent men) and as regards amounts (44 per cent of the total in this sector is assigned to women and 51 per cent to men). Providing housing credits is part of the activity of the Social Housing Fund (FSV). In the period from June 2012 to May 2013, 44 per cent of credits were granted to women.

139. The Ministry of Economic Affairs through the National Commission on Micro-Enterprises and Small Businesses has adopted a gender perspective throughout its institutional operations, incorporating gender equity as a crosscutting feature in its institutional policies and strategies. In the last five years it has serviced 60,544 economic units throughout the country through various services to micro-enterprises and small businesses, businesspeople, artisans and members of cooperatives. Of this total, 62 per cent were economic units managed by women.

140. The Ministry of Education reports that 18 Women’s Entrepreneurship Service units (VEF) have been created to provide specialized service to women entrepreneurs throughout the country. During April of 2014, service was provided at Women’s City locations to 11,900 women.

141. Recreational activities, sports and all aspects of cultural life. Sports policy is implemented through the National Institute of Sports of El Salvador. Its enhancement has gone hand in hand with increased practice of sports by the population, through execution of strategies at the community and school levels and through social inclusion. In 2012, participation in these programmes by 51,627 people was recorded, with women representing 55 per cent. Through May of 2012, there were 131 athletes in the records of the ISSS. Athletes among the young population and among older adults receive an economic incentive in keeping with their sporting achievements, known as the “Sports Merit Stimulus”.

Article 14Rural Women

Recommendations 37 and 38 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

142. The Salvadoran Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), manages a Family Farming Plan (PAF) and related programmes in food security, nutrition, supply chain organization and agricultural packages. Women receiving the agricultural packages reported an increase of about 35 per cent from 2010 to 2012. The training and technical assistance provided through the agricultural extension schools are showing a positive trend, with women’s participation rising from 20 per cent in 2012-2013 to 40.6 per cent in 2012-2013.

143. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has established an interagency agreement with the Agricultural Development Bank to enable women’s associations to access credit, whose interest cost hovers around 9 per cent, at a preferential rate of 4 per cent, with the difference being made up by the Ministry. For the month of August 2014, 20 per cent of the loan portfolio for basic grains benefited women farmers. Lending of the Bank is designed to strengthen the agricultural sector, an area in which men have held a share of 80 per cent as compared to 20 per cent of women served.

144. The land ownership programme in charge of the Salvadoran Institute of Agrarian Reform (ISTA) has made gains for rural women, with 16,937 land title deeds being granted to women from June 2009 to May of 2014. (See Table 1, Annex 8.)

145. The “Territories in Progress” programme under the Office of the President strives to overcome poverty and social inequalities, primarily with regard to gender. The programme provides for creation of Territorial Councils, and about 40 per cent of these councils are made up of women.

146. The Technical Secretariat of the Office of the President, through the Programme of Comprehensive Care for Small Producers (PAIPPE) designed a Chapter for Women Producers which attends to women and groups of women in the rural areas of the country. 57 per cent of the population attended to by PAIPPE are women and 32 per cent of groups attended to are groups consisting of only women.

147. During the reporting period the Solidarity Network Programme was reformulated and the Communities in Solidarity Programme (which operates in rural and urban settings) was created, this being one of the programmes making up the Universal Social Protection System (SPSU). One new feature by comparison with prior programmes is that this programme includes promotion of “active participation by girls, adolescent girls, and adult women”.

148. The State has also given priority to improving basic social infrastructure. As of 2013, 71.4 per cent coverage of drinking water and basic sanitation had been achieved, and 86.6 per cent of municipalities of the Rural Communities in Solidarity had obtained electrification. The result of these interventions has had a positive impact on reducing levels of poverty in the population in general, and women in particular. In the period 2009-2012, in rural areas, the number of women living in poverty declined by 1.4 percentage points. (See Figure 1, Annex 8.)

Articles 15 and 16Civil rights and rights relating to marriage and the family

149. The information on legislative changes carried out by the country under these articles was contained in the Fifth and Sixth Periodic Reports of El Salvador. To date, there have been no legislative changes in this area.

Violence against women

Recommendations 23 and 24 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

150. Important advances have been made in this area pursuant to the Special Comprehensive Act on a Violence-Free Life for Women (LEIV) including: (i) Creation of the Special Technical Commission (CTE) with a view to ensuring compliance with public policies in women’s access to a violence-free life. The CTE has focused its work on establishing mechanisms and proposals to sectorially organize the response of the State, with the aim of eradicating violence against women. (ii) In application of the LEIV Act, the Governing Board of ISDEMU approved the National Policy on Women’s Access to a Violence-free Life in October of 2013.

151. The National Policy has laid down guidelines organized according to three areas of institutional action and coordination: (i) Prevention, (ii) Attention, (iii) Administration of Justice. The National Policy is the outcome of a broad process of nationwide consultations conducted during the period from January to June of 2013, with the participation of the institutions that make up the Special Technical Commission, the Advisory Councils and civic oversight bodies, women’s organizations and the feminist movement at the departmental and national level.

152. The Salvadoran Institute for the Advancement of Women (ISDEMU) has formulated a series of guidelines and mechanisms to give impetus to women’s right to a violence-free life and in fulfilment of the mandates of the LEIV Act, notably: (i) Municipal Guidelines for formulation of equality plans of municipal women’s units, and plans for the prevention of violence against women. (ii) Guidelines for identifying types and modalities of violence against women. (iii) Guide to the Special Act for a Life Free of Violence for Women, with a psycho-social approach. (iv) Guidelines for the Accreditation, Monitoring and Evaluation of Specialized Institutional Support Units for Women. (v) Guidelines for approval and operation of Intake Shelters. (vi) Protocol of the Programme of Specialized Attention for Women Facing Violence. (vii) Thematic campaigns to combat different forms of violence, e.g. “Violence against women is violence against society,” “Trafficking in women is a crime; let’s speak out”. (viii) The radio programme “Women’s Voice”. (ix) Strategy for preventing violence against women directed at specific interest groups, focusing during this period on schools and hospitals.

153. ISDEMU also has developed an institutional framework for addressing violence against women, containing institutional guidelines governing the performance of the services provided; the framework adopts the principle of inter‑sectoral action based on joint programmes, activities and resources for care and protection of victims, punishment for injury and redress for victims to ensure comprehensive care.

154. ISDEMU has a team made up of female social workers and lawyers who provide service around the clock 365 days per year. There are modalities or entry points for women to seek information and guidance about cases of gender violence: (1) Information services and emergency orientation through the 126 Call Centre; (2) Comprehensive Support Centre for a Violence-Free Life for Women; (3) Special Care Units at the Women’s City locations; (4) Permanent Care Units in each Department; (5) Mobile Detection and Screening Units and referral units; (6) Protection services and temporary shelter for women in extreme danger, with interdisciplinary care services.

155. The Specialized Institutional Support Units for Women mandated under article 25 of the LEIV Act have been set up and are operating as follows: (i) The judiciary has three units for care of victims of intra-family violence and sexual abuse. (ii) The National Civil Police has nine specialized units for citizen reporting and attention, UNIMUJER-ODAC. (iii) The Office of the Counsel General of the Republic has 13 Specialized Institutional Support Units established at the auxiliary offices of the Counsel General’s Office at the national level. (iv) The Ministry of Health has created two specialized units under the Directorate for Victims Support at San Juan de Dios Hospital and San Rafael Hospital.

156. In June of 2012, the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic adopted the Protocol for Investigating Femicide, whose purpose is to guide prosecutors, police investigators and forensic physicians in handling crime scenes involving homicides of women that may be treated as femicide. Also, Assistant prosecutors are trained at the School for Prosecutors in access to justice for women, offences that are defined in gender terms, and special investigation methods, including the Protocol mentioned above.

157. Situation of violence against women. Based on the fact that femicidal violence is an extreme form of violence against women the information about violent deaths of women constitutes one of the main indicators for evaluating violence against women in El Salvador. According to information provided by the Institute of Forensic Medicine, there has been a substantial reduction in violent deaths of women in the period from 2009 to 2013, as shown in Table 1, Annex 9.

158. Despite this reduction, El Salvador is still facing a major challenge in enhancing its capacity to guarantee women their right of access to justice, with special emphasis on investigating and punishing violent deaths of women, given the fact that the number of cases that find their way into judicial cannels is still small: In 2012, 150 cases were brought to court (144 preliminarily categorized as homicide and 6 as femicide). (See Table 2, Annex 9.)

159. Based on this reality, El Salvador takes the view that securing justice for women remains one of the greatest challenges the country faces. In November of 2014, the Supreme Court of Justice and the Legislative Assembly signed a cooperation agreement to create a specialized jurisdiction for crimes against women.

Child Labour

Recommendations 33 and 34 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

160. Through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Government has set up a National System of Information on Child Labour under the coordination of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, in order to establish a registry and monitoring centre to monitor the country’s progress towards eradication and prevention of child labour.

161. During the period 2012 and 2013 child labour declined from 191,599 to 187,428 children and adolescents at work. However, when the figures are disaggregated by sex, they show an increase for girls, although child labour as a whole remains primarily male (See Figure 1, Annex 6). The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has also advanced new programmes for eradication of child labour, such as the “Road map to make El Salvador a country free of the worst forms of child labour”.

162. The Constitution of El Salvador provides that the minimum age for working is 14. This rule is part of the Act on Comprehensive Protection for Children and Adolescents, article 59, and contemplates a number of provisions for protection of working adolescents as part of its comprehensive protection.

163. In accordance with the functions assigned by article 57 of the Act on Comprehensive Protection for Children and Adolescents to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, this portfolio performs the task of overseeing the proper use of work permits and provides orientation and labour mediation service, as well as ongoing awareness-raising activities aimed at employers, to discourage the hiring of children under age 18 without the necessary permit. From 2009 to 2013 the number of permits granted by the Ministry was reduced by more than half. (See Table 5, Annex 6.)

164. The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has an “inter-agency protocol on the prevention of child labour and the withdrawal of children and adolescents from child labour, including mechanisms for referral and coordination between the Ministry and other key partners”. The protocol defines the scope of action for agencies working to eliminate child labour.

165. In the area of education, El Salvador is pursuing measures to eradicate child labour through the “Let’s Go to School” social-educational plan and its Inclusive Full-Time School Programme and Comprehensive Care of Early Childhood Programme.

166. The Programme on Uniforms, Shoes and School Supplies and School Meals makes it possible to maintain enrolment and to minimize school-leaving. Education and health links implemented in the context of the Programme of Communities in Solidarity have also helped to improve access to basic education and provision of health care to children. For 2012, the rate of school attendance nationwide was 34 per cent for males and 29.5 per cent for females, which in total amounted to 1,847,763 persons attending a formal education establishment.

Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

Recommendation 39 of document CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

167. The National Plan of Action of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995) and the outcome of the 23rd special session of the United Nations General Assembly (2000) are reflected in advances in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. Among the most significant results are the approval and entry into force of the National Standards for Substantive Equality, the creation and operation of coordinating machinery for follow-up under the National System of Substantive Equality, and the setting in motion of a model for comprehensive and integrated services for women. The foregoing was made possible thanks to the impact of feminist women’s organizations, the exercise of oversight by ISDEMU, the leadership of female political leaders and the adoption of a crosscutting approach to equality in development policies.

168. With regard to the 12 areas of concern outlined in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, programmes, policies and initiatives promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment have been adopted. The advances achieved have been based on the Beijing Platform for Action and contribute to fulfilment of the obligations assumed under CEDAW. Similarly, the LEIV Act and the National Policy on Women have as one of their foundations the Beijing Declaration and Programme for Action of 1995 adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, which describes violence against women as one of the main impediments to achieving the goals of equality, development and peace and the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Millennium Development Goals

Recommendation 40 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

169. The Government has assumed a commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and expresses it in the 2010-2014 Five-year Development Plan, which sets out as one of its strategic aims “a healthy, educated and productive population with the ability and adequate opportunities to fulfil its potential and become the principal foundation of the country’s development”.

Recommendation 41 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

170. The Technical Secretariat of the Office of the President, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNDP, has promoted a process of evaluation of progress towards the MDGs through the year 2012, as well as an analysis of challenges pending in the pursuit of those goals. These results are presented in the Third Report on the Progress of the Millennium Development Goals, El Salvador.

171. The Salvadoran Government reports that on April 21, 2013 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted to the Legislative Assembly a request for ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. To date it is contemplated that this Convention will be ratified, as the instrument is still under consideration by the Legislative Assembly under file No. 827-4-2013-1.

Recommendation 42 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

172. In December of 2009 ISDEMU organized an event entitled “El Salvador: 30 Years after CEDAW” which enjoyed participation by different governmental institutions and organizations in the country. In addition, it has developed various print materials (posters, brochures) to promote awareness of women’s rights, including CEDAW, material that has been widely publicized and distributed among government institutions and among women in the territories. In March of 2009, the Office of the Human Rights Advocate published “CEDAW Convention and Final Comments of the Committee of 7 November 2008”. The publication was made possible with financial support from the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).

Recommendation 44 of the Committee in CEDAW/C/SLV/CO/7

173.With regard to the comment in which the Committee requests the State party to provide written information on the steps taken to implement the recommendations in paragraphs 24 and 28, it is reported that in January of 2011 a follow-up report was presented to CEDAW with regard to recommendation 24 (referring to violence against women) and recommendation 28 (referring to political participation by women). The report was prepared by ISDEMU with the technical assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as with inputs provided by different institutions involved and participation by representatives of civil society organizations, who, through workshops, provided inputs and recommendations for the document.