Real Choices, Real lives: Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador

Authored by: Sharon Goulds

Categories: Human Rights
Sub-Categories: Human Development, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health
Region: Latin America and the Caribbean
Year: 2022
Citation: Goulds, Sharon. "Real Choices, Real lives: Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador." Plan International. August 2022.

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Executive Summary

This report, focusing on evidence from Brazil, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador, forms part of Plan International’s ongoing research, Real Choices, Real Lives – a qualitative, longitudinal study following the lives of girls living in nine countries* around the world from their birth (in 2006), until they turn 18 (in 2024).

Reports of violence – including rape, muggings, and harassment – are widespread across the three countries, and girls are affected by fear and limited in where they go and what they wear. Girls feel held back from meaningfully participating in community life – with a sense that more facilities and training, as well as role modelling, would support their engagement.

The pandemic affected girls’ mental well-being – and there are reports across all the countries girls experiencing isolation and depression, alongside worrying about their education and the future. For gender equality to become a reality, families believe practical support and facilities are needed – including access to educational opportunities (training centres), and community facilities.

Despite the challenges, the girls are resilient and determined for the future to be different.