Official Blog of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Nicaraguan Human Rights Lawyer and Activist Juanita Jiménez Martinez

by Bette Benson (LACIS Social Media/Outreach Intern, BA, Pol Sci & Intl Stud ’15)


The University of Wisconsin welcomed Nicaraguan Human Rights Lawyer and Activist Juanita Jiménez Martinez to campus earlier this month. She presented a public lecture on the state of women’s rights and gender violence in Nicaragua.

The Nicaraguan women’s movement took off in the 1970s. It was a leading organization that worked to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship as part of the Sandinista Revolution. In the ‘90s, the movement became autonomous from the political parties of Nicaragua, and began to demand and defend specific women’s rights.

With 21 years of experience in cases related to gender violence and as a founder of numerous women’s rights organizations, Juanita has led the Nicaraguan feminist movement. In recent years, Juanita has become particularly active in protesting the 2006 law that outlawed all forms of abortion in Nicaragua, including the termination of a pregnancy was threatening the mother’s life. She has faced political persecution for her work in favor of abortion, and in particular for her support of a 9-year-old girl (Rosa) who had an abortion after being sexually abused.

In addition to her public lecture, Juanita was happy to speak to several classes on the current state of government and the feminist movement in Nicaragua stating that, “academics should not be separate from reality,” stressing the importance of learning about the current events of the world – something all LACIS faculty and staff strongly believe!

Here’s part 1 of Juanita’s lecture. Head over to the LACIS YouTube page for parts 2 and 3, and don’t forget so subscribe!

To learn more about the Nicaraguan Women’s movement, watch this YouTube video.