Picture this: Gorgeous women dressed in sequin gowns line up on stage. One by one, they step up to the microphone and introduce themselves.
“My name is Camila Canicoba, and I represent the department of Lima. My measurements are: 2,202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country,” says the first.
“My name is Karen Cueto, and I represent Lima and my measurements are 82 femicides and 156 attempted femicides so far this year,” says the second.
No, this isn’t a UN Women gala. It’s the 2017 Miss Peru pageant. In a surprising twist, the 23 contestants broke the tradition of revealing their measurements (bust, waist, and hip) to announce far more important numbers: the statistics on violence against women in their homeland.
The numbers are easy to gloss over. (How many more women die in car crashes each year, you might ask.) True, statistics can come across as meaningless without the stories behind them, which is why the faces of battered women flashed behind the contestants as they spoke. But they didn’t end there. Each woman finished by answering the following: which law would they change to end violence against women?
Latin America's 'Woman' Problem
Pageant organizer Jessica Newton’s brilliant idea put women’s rights center stage and turned an old fashioned competition into a moment of solidarity. But why in Peru? And why now?