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Bárbara Jiménez-Santiago

Regional Representative, Latin America and the Caribbean

Barbara Jimenez Santiago is a feminist and human rights lawyer. She is the Regional Representative of Latin America and the Caribbean for Equality Now. In this role, Barbara leads the development and delivery of Equality Now’s work in Latin America and the Caribbean, advising on priority issues while helping Equality Now to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships with stakeholders in the region, including partner organizations, governments, and regional human rights mechanisms. Barbara first joined Equality Now in 2018 and brings over ten years of experience advocating for access to justice, gender equality, and the elimination of discrimination and violence against girls and women in Puerto Rico and in the Latin American and Caribbean region. 

Barbara hails from Puerto Rico, where she led the creation of an inter-agency protocol on domestic violence and created an office of human rights community education for the Puerto Rican Judiciary. She has published and spoken widely on gender-based violence, including domestic violence and sexual violence, sexual discrimination laws in Latin America and the Caribbean, and on the need for governments in the region to allocate funding to gender equality programs.

She has also represented clients before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, participated in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process for Bolivia, and reviewed Ecuador’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Honduras’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). 

Barbara was a key member of Brisa’s legal team in the case of Brisa De Angulo Losada against the State of Bolivia at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR). After a decade of unwavering dedication, their relentless work resulted in a historic victory not only for Brisa but also for all women, girls, and adolescents who have suffered from sexual violence. The IACtHR’s groundbreaking ruling marked the first time the Court delivered a judgment with the potential to provide genuine access to justice for women and across the region, through good laws, effective implementation, practice, and accountability, the challenging of negative stereotypes, and improved understanding of sexual violence amongst the public.

Barbara’s significant contributions extended beyond this case. She authored and contributed to numerous reports for Equality Now, including the report Failure to Protect: How Discriminatory Sexual Violence Laws and Practices are Hurting Women, Girls and Adolescents in the Americas, which identified legal barriers across the Americas.

Additionally, Barbara imparts her expertise by teaching the International Women’s Rights Lawyering Practicum at the George Washington University Law School.

One of the most exciting aspects of Barbara’s job with Equality Now is the opportunity to collaborate and create networks and coalitions among local organizations of youth advocates, feminist lawyers, and gender-based violence survivors to advocate for systemic changes to local legal systems.  

Barbara earned her B.A. from Universidad del Sagrado Corazón (University of the Sacred Heart) in San Juan and a J.D, magna cum laude, from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law.  She lives near Washington, DC, with her family.

Barbara is available for interviews in English and Spanish.