Publication Date

6-23-2012

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Tatsushi Arai

Abstract

In Guatemala women and youth often do not enjoy the same privileges that men do making it harder for them to be involved in the social sphere and in control of decision-making in their lives. Gender based inequality, certain cultural norms, and general structural weakness and impunity are factors that important to analyze and take in consideration in regards to the challenges that women face in Guatemalan society. This paper aims to analyze the question of community development challenges in rural Guatemala. Specifically, focus will be placed on the major obstacles that affect women and youth in community development, presenting literature review on how those obstacles have affected women and youth, their significance in relation to their participation in community development, suggestions on what can be done, and to provide some insights and reflections throughout the paper as a Peace Corps Volunteer who experienced working with these challenges. Method of inquiry consisted of relying greatly on literature review in supporting the arguments and analysis, documented field notes/observations and work journals, community youth diagnostic results, and two supplementary interviews with Guatemalans who had relevant work experience with women and youth.

The findings suggest that major obstacles such as extreme poverty, family violence, and gender discrimination and inequality can be addressed if we provide a space for women and youth to participate, and advocate on behalf of their rights in conjunction with educating the public (women, youth, and men) and pushing for greater accountability on behalf of the authorities/system. Encouraging women and youth’s participation through education and increasing their knowledge on existing opportunities, involving men in the discussion, and empowering women and youth with decision-making in their lives and activities and projects that affect their community, will all be ways in which true transformation and further community development can come about.

Disciplines

Latin American Studies | Other International and Area Studies

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