Name: Marina Mendoza
What she does: Activist and women’s rights leader
Impact: Has created a space for women and women’s issues in local, regional and national politics in Peru
Nominated by: Womankind Worldwide
Marina Mendoza grew up in an underprivileged area of Ica, a rural area of Peru. From a very young age she saw violence and poverty in her neighbourhood, particularly affecting women. This inspired her to become a community leader to find solutions to these problems. Her life has been dedicated to the promotion of justice and equality for women in Ica and Peru generally. Marina co-founded the Ica Women’s Federation, the first organization in the region dedicated to the promotion of women’s human rights and to getting women’s issues onto the public and political agenda. She has positioned Ica Women’s Federation as a technical and political organisation, and it has become a pioneer in the defence of women’s rights in Peru.
Marina is a role model for other women and has created opportunities for them to participate in public spaces in Peru. Through capacity building workshops with women and young people, Marina has supported and empowered them to advocate for their rights, gain the respect of local authorities and make demands of their political leaders. For over 30 years she has acted as a positive mediator between grassroots women, civil society and authorities.
Marina has also helped women to denounce violence in their relationships and communities, and has used innovative approaches like the inclusion of men in gender equality awareness campaigns.