Colombia, a middle-income country, has embedded the right to equality for women in its constitution since 1991 and has advanced women’s parliamentary representation from single digits to around 20 percent follow- ing the introduction of quotas in 2011. Women’s education achievements, at eight years, and cellphone use, at 85 percent, are favorable by regional and global standards. Colombia attained these gains despite the world’s longest-running conflict, which involved leftist guerrillas, narco-traffickers, right-wing paramilitaries, and the state military. The human costs of the conflict were enormous, including an estimated 220,000 fatalities and around 7 million displaced people (UNHCR 2016).
Rates of intimate partner violence are high—estimated lifetime rates exceed 37 percent—and the official victims’ registry of the conflict includes 10,000 victims of conflict-related sexual violence, a number that is believed to be vastly underreported (ABColombia, Corporación Sisma Mujer, and U.S. Office on Colombia 2013).
This uneven pattern of achievement is reflected in Colombia’s scores across the WPS Index dimensions: rank- ing well on inclusion but falling to 120 on the security dimension, for an overall ranking of 96. Looking ahead, the 2016 peace accords commit to ending impunity for sexual violence, require women’s participation in transitional justice, and promote formalized rural property rights for women, all of which augur well for future gains for women.