QUESTION: Social, economic & political statistics & trends related to girls and young women in Latin America and the Caribbean

question / pregunta: 

Greetings! I am looking for assistance with finding statistics and trends related to the social, economic and political well-being of girls and young women in the Western Hemisphere and its sub-regions (Andean; Southern Cone; English, Dutch and French-speaking Caribbean, Central, South and North America. I am also trying to identify organizations within the region who are organizing to promote the voice and rights of girls and young women and/or building a progressive analysis or policy platform as it relates to advancing the interests of girls and young women. I appreciate your help and was delighted to learn about your organization at the U.S. Social Forum.


As we discussed via email, because your query is so broad--more of a research strategy than a straight up reference question, I'm having sort of a difficult time helping. The resource Torie linked to in her comment is a great start.

I recommend you contact your local library to see what resources they have available. I did identify a few reference books they have there and provided their call numbers:

  • The Europa world year book. 032 E89 R
  • Statistical abstract of Latin America. 318 STAT BSL R
  • Statistical abstract of the world.310 STAT R (at two branches only--call first)
  • The Greenwood encyclopedia of women's issues worldwide is not available at your public library, but it is at the University library you mentioned in your email.

Of the databases available to you at your library system, I recommend:

  • Business and Company Resource Center
  • Ethnic NewsWatch
  • Expanded Academic ASAP
  • Gale's Ready Reference Shelf
  • History Resource Center: U.S. and World
  • Informe (This is a Spanish language resource)
  • Infotrac
  • Virtual Reference Library

Depending on the sophistication of these databases (and also Google and Google Scholar), I might break up the search and repeating it with different elements. e.g. Start with
statistics AND girls AND "latin america"

then do
statistics AND "young women" AND "latin america"

then do
statistics AND "young women" AND caribbean

If you don't get enough relevant results, you can also mix and match adding
to the query

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics looks like it might have some good stuff. There's also a Gender Equality Fact Sheet that looks useful.

I will send you your local "Ask a Librarian" links in an email. When you have gotten to the next step in your research, I hope you will come back to us.

I also hope fellow Radical Reference librarians will step in with their expertise on the topic.

Answer posted by:
jim miller

If you are near a large academic library, or have remote access as a student or staff member, it is well worth trying some database searches. In Women's Studies International (1972-present), the search: YOUTH AND "SOUTH AMERICA" AND STATISTIC* gets 31 hits. ADOLESCENT* AND "SOUTH AMERICA" AND STATISTIC* gets 44 hits, ADOLESCENCE AND "SOUTH AMERICA" AND STATISTIC* gets 41. But ADOLESCEN* AND "SOUTH AMERICA" AND STATISTIC* gets an error message - truncation only goes so far, apparently.

For a possibly quicker look at full text online, Academic Search might also help. Girl* and south america and statistic* gets 3 hits; women* and south america and statistic* gets 7. women* and latin america* and statistic* gets 51 hits. In Women's Studies database you can use much broader categories such as "adolescents" or "youth", because the database itself will tend to limit to women and girls. Academic Search covers all subject areas, so it will be trickier to focus the search; you will need to try many more combinations of words.

For free access on the web, you can try official government sites, such as, or the UN's "Global Search on UN Documents", which gets 27 hits for the search: "latin america*" "young women" statistic*. This search appears to work like Google, but it wouldn't hurt to compare their advanced search, which uses pull-down menus for limiting to title, full text, Boolean search, etc. The full text Boolean search: "latin america*" and "young women" and statistic* gets 546 documents.

Kayo Denda, Rutgers

Kayo Denda, Rutgers University Women's Studies Librarian, has created this list of resources dealing with global women's activism.

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