In May 2022, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and Fundación Esquel Ecuador launched a training process with Indigenous women from Movimiento de Unidad Plurinacional Pachakutik – Nuevo País (Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement, or Pachakutik) on gender parity and political leadership. Pachakutik is an Indigenous movement founded in Ecuador in 1995 with the goal of advancing Indigenous interests, especially in the areas of environmentalism and social justice.
During this workshop, Indigenous women expressed their optimism about effecting change, underpinned by practical recommendations and their strong foundations in advocacy. Pachakutik has had among its members historic women figures, such as Dolores Cancuango and Tránsito Amaguaña, who drove important gains in Indigenous Peoples' rights in Ecuador.
Pachakutik participants identified important challenges to achieving equality within their own organization, such as encouraging male allyship, developing trainings and making resources more available for women who live in rural communities. Participants proposed establishing a permanent training process in small towns and rural areas so that more Indigenous women can access Pachakutik’s leadership curriculum. They also discussed creating a national database to allow current and aspiring women leaders to connect, share ideas and develop joint strategies to support and strengthen their political participation. Pachakutik participants shared ideas such as inclusive and intersectional political agendas, providing counseling for women leaders facing gender-based political violence, and seeking funding for campaigns to encourage Indigenous and underrepresented women to run for office.
The project has also empowered women from three other political organizations: Movimiento Creando Oportunidades CREO, Izquierda Democrática ID y Partido Social Cristiano PSC. Various activities – including thematic talks on topics such as healthy masculinities – targeted men to promote support of women as leaders. IFES and Fundación Esquel will continue to work with Pachakutik and other political organizations to empower women to become involved in politics and run as candidates in the 2023 elections and other forthcoming political leadership opportunities across Ecuador.
Published August 9, 2022.