Dominican Republic’s Gender Gap is at 70.4%. Feminist Manifesto calls for change


This March 8th, 2024, almost at the end of the first quarter of the 21st century, Dominican women continue to face the same challenges, and for this reason, we once again gather together on this emblematic monument of our colonized history, which places the indigenous woman at the feet of the patriarchal colonizer, reflecting the order of power perpetuated until today, and the condition of second-class citizens of Dominican women, whose fundamental rights continue to be denied by the State, and that is why here today we proclaim that THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL.

Three weeks ago, Paula Santana was raped and murdered. Although she had reported the sexual harassment to the Human Resources Department, the company did not act to protect her. Today we mourn her absence. Her torture and murder could have been prevented. The complicit silence is a political decision.

Assuming the personal as political implies understanding that what happens in the private sphere of individuals depends on the political actions that occur in the public sphere of a country and that, therefore, the public policies that are formulated and implemented must address the rights and needs expressed in the private sphere.

The personal is political because although the Dominican Constitution establishes the principles and precepts for the equality of the people, and condemns any privilege and any situation that tends to break it, women’s fundamental rights are violated in all forms of social relations, outside and inside homes, in companies, in political parties, in churches, in the central government, in Congress, in the judiciary system and in all existing forms of organization.

The personal is political because Rosaura, Damaris, Carmen, Dionelys, Winifer, Adilka, would be alive today if the three causes were in the Penal Code. Their deaths were preventable. The causes save lives and protect the fundamental rights of girls and women. Forcing a girl to give birth to her father’s child is torture. Forcing a woman to continue an unviable pregnancy is subjecting her to risk her health. In 2023, more than 174 died from pregnancy-related causes, and one in five girls or adolescents were pregnant.

Through tradition and structured public policies, Dominican women are subordinated to the private sphere, favoring the domination of some people over others, and strengthening a violent institutionalized social proposal for all, from an androcentric and sexist perspective, deeply antidemocratic that leaves women out of their right to equality. Therefore, THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL.

The gender gap in the DR stands at 70.4%, which places the country in 81st place out of 155 countries in the world according to the World Bank’s 2024 measurement for the third term of 2022, according to 2023 MEPYD, women represented 41.7% and men, 58.3% of the overall economically active population, keeping a gap in formal jobs of 9.2% on average over the last 5 years. Likewise, according to ONE, for the second term of 2023, poverty among women stood at 24.6%, while among men it was 22.2%.

In terms of violence against women, despite the lack of reliable data -due to incomplete or segmented records- official data reveal that the high rates of femicides and sexual aggressions against women and girls continue. It is enough to retrieve the information from the media which reports that, last February alone, 3 women were tortured and murdered in femicides committed by their ex-partners: Alexandra Liriano, 51 years old, Susana Santana Fabián, 27 years old, both burned with gasoline, and Paula Santana, 23 years old, raped and murdered, leaving her body thrown in a sewer at her workplace.

Housekeepers still have no protection in terms of working hours or minimum wage, therefore, we keep with the slogan: WORK LIKE NO OTHER, RIGHT LIKE ANY OTHER.

Likewise, facing sexual harassment in the workplace, which led to the very serious case of Paula, for which we demand the ratification of ILO Convention 190 on a work environment free of violence against women.

In addition to the particularities that we are denouncing about the situation of Dominican women, this March 8 finds us with extremely painful and unfair situations in this globalized world, where it is intended by executive orders to eliminate references to gender in regulatory documents, as in Argentina and El Salvador.

On the contrary, and despite the political characteristics of the current government, in France, the right to abortion is constitutionalized, which must be understood as a new direction in the legal procedures of women’s right to make decisions about their life and body.

We look with horror at the specific and complex conditions experienced by Haitian, Palestinian, Congolese, Sudanese, Ukrainian and Syrian women and people, to mention only the most extreme cases.

We reject the racist, xenophobic, discriminatory and humiliating treatment of Haitian migrants, especially pregnant women, including Dominicans of Haitian descent, sustained by a political culture that denies the rights of black migrants.

Internationally, the moment is critical, the genocide in the Palestinian territories, in particular in the Gaza Strip, caused by Zionism and the actions of “ethnic cleansing” being carried out by the Israeli regime, with the support of US and European imperialism (the US has vetoed three times a cease-fire in Gaza). Equally dramatic are the situations of fraternal peoples such as those of the Congo and Sudan. Dominicans, on a date like today, bring our hugs and support to the struggle of the peoples of the world, especially the women in Gaza.

On this March 8, we, the Dominican women, reiterate our demands to the State to confront the root causes of the great social inequalities that affect women:

  • Regularization of domestic work
  • Ratification of ILO Convention 190 on harassment and violence in the workplace.
  • Strengthening caring policies to enable more women to enter the labor market.
  • Reducing the wage gap
  • Education for equality! That allows us to overcome the patriarchal, authoritarian, classist and racist culture.
  • Approval of legislation for years stalled in Congress, necessary to guarantee safer, more dignified lives, and with rights to all girls and women, such as:
  • Penal Code with three grounds and feminicide typification
  • Comprehensive law on attention, prevention and punishment of gender violence and violence against women.
  • As well as the recognition of gender specificities in trafficking and smuggling laws, immigration law, electoral and political party law, as well as in environmental considerations and the defense of the environment and natural resources.
  • We Dominicans warn that unpaid activities such as family care and child nurturing are public policy issues, which has become structural violence that can only be eradicated from the collective, and the inclusion of women and children in the family.
  • As we approach the presidential and congressional elections, we want to reiterate that THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL; therefore, we invite citizens to use wisely and responsibly the power of their vote, and we call on the political class to take over these demands
  • For a Dominican Republic that is fairer, dignified and with rights for all… JOIN YOUR POWER!
    Santo Domingo, March 10, 2024