Paraguay has developed ambitious but complex legislation to tackle the epidemic of violence against women; and is drawing on expertise from different sectors to achieve this aim. However, to be effective, these organisations need a harmonised approach to gathering data and statistics. Paraguay’s national statistics organisation, INE, with support from PARIS21, has recently developed a gender statistics strategy to accompany its most recent statistics strategy. The organisation’s growing expertise in the field of gender statistics means that it is well placed to provide guidance to partners on how to improve data production and use to tackle violence against women.

photo collage of speakers from the event on Violence Against Women and Girls in Paraguay, 22-25 :ay 2023

Different actors are uniting in Paraguay to tackle violence against women and girls

The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront the issue of violence against women and girls (VAWG) around the world. Referred to as the “shadow pandemic” the increase in VAWG was as widespread as the COVID pandemic itself, leaving no country unscathed.

In Paraguay, a new strategy is aiming to eradicate VAWG by uniting actors from different sectors in the country, including government ministries, police, justice, civil society and academia. However, at the heart of these combined efforts, these actors need timely, reliable and harmonised data to understand where they need to target their efforts, how to co-operate together, and to understand the impact of their actions.

Uniting efforts requires a harmonised approach to data

Paraguay currently has a complex legislation to eradicate violence, with a legal framework that distinguishes 14 types of violence. However, data are lacking, and of these 14 types of violence, currently only half can be monitored. Stakeholders have noted that the lack of data is hampering these efforts.

During the workshop, civil society stated that "Not having data is also data". The Ministry of Women highlighted their concerns stating that "to achieve gender mainstreaming and achieve the principle of gender equality, quality data and joint work between the corresponding entities are needed."

However, the work of Paraguay’s national statistics office - INE – can help. INE has been a champion of gender statistics for several years. In 2021, as the country developed its national strategy for the development of statistics (NSDS), it also put in place a specific gender statistics strategy to ensure a continuing focus on the use and production of gender statistics.

INE’s growing expertise on gender statistics can help efforts to tackle VAWG

This strategy has allowed INE to develop its expertise in the field on gender disaggregated data, and the use of data and statistics to support efforts to improve the quality of life of women and men. The INE’s growing expertise in this field means that the organisation is now able to support these wider societal efforts to tackle VAWG. For example, INE is developing a strategy to harmonise key figures on feminicide and physical violence.

The Supreme Court of Paraguay, noted that “Updating the existing indicators will allow us to make better decisions and in turn create gender specific policies” The supreme court of justice has already seen an increase in reporting to its domestic violence registry since it began a campaign “Your information counts” in late 2022, very important information to act on key public policies in Paraguay. PARIS21, who supported INE to develop both its NSDS and gender statistics strategy, is now advising on key issues of the VAWG Statistics.

The widespread push to tackle VAWG in Paraguay, alongside INE’s progress in championing gender statistics is creating a solid foundation for better data and statistics to tackle VAWG.