UN Women works with indigenous women all over the world, promoting their rights and making their voices heard. It is estimated that, out of the 370 million indigenous people around the globe, 45 million live in Latin America and the Caribbean, and they represent 8.3% of the regional population. On average, 85% of the indigenous girls and boys of the region go to secondary school, but only 40% completes their education.
In spite of the progress made in terms of legislation, constitutions, and educational and health policies over the past ten years, and the guidelines from the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), World Conference on Indigenous Peoples 2014 and Beijing+20, among others, indigenous people continue to be the most vulnerable and marginalized people across the world. Globally, 33% of the people on extreme rural poverty situations belong to an indigenous community, a scenario that is even worse in the case of indigenous women who face multiple forms of discrimination and violence, both for being women and for being indigenous.
The right to education is far from being a concrete and full reality for the indigenous people worldwide. In all the regions there are still inequalities between indigenous population and non-indigenous population in terms of access to education, school retention and level of academic achievement. The gap deepens in the case of indigenous women and girls, who are condemned to a cycle of poverty, less opportunities, worse health and lack of abilities to make decisions.
The commitment made by the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development so no one is left behind is focused on the empowerment of indigenous women and girls, as well as on the promotion of indigenous people’s rights.