Caribbean women's affairs ministers agree to incorporate gender perspective in COVID-19 response policiesMonday, March 01, 2021
SANTIAGO, Chile (CMC) — The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says regional women's affairs ministers and officials from mechanisms for women's advancement have committed to incorporating a gender perspective into policies for responding to the novel coronavirus pandemic to tackle the multiple forms of violence and inequality that affect women.
ECLAC said they have also reaffirmed their commitment to take all necessary measures to accelerate effective implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the Regional Gender Agenda, “in order to contribute to a transformative and sustainable recovery with gender equality”.
The representatives participated in the three-day 60th Meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, which concluded on Thursday.
The event was organised by ECLAC in coordination with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).
In the gathering's resolutions, ECLAC said delegates agreed to promote a regional partnership for the digitalisation of women in Latin America and the Caribbean, led by Chile in its capacity as chair of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference, “with the goal of reducing gender gaps in information and communications technologies in terms of access, skills development and use by women and girls, and promoting women's full participation in the digital economy”.
ECLAC said the Regional Fund in Support of Women's and Feminists Organizations and Movements was “set in motion, with initial contributions from Mexico and UN Women, the agency that will be in charge of administering the fund”.
“As we have reaffirmed at this meeting, the full digital inclusion of women and the forging of a care society are indispensable for an egalitarian and sustainable recovery,” said ECLAC Executive Director Alicia Bárcena. “To that end, we will be promoting, with Chile's leadership, the Regional Partnership for the digitalisation of women in Latin America and the Caribbean, which constitutes a decisive step forward.
“We highlight that Uruguay and Costa Rica are the first two countries to have expressed interest in forming part of this partnership along with Chile,” she added. “We also take note of the request by Costa Rica's Vice-President Epsy Campbell, to promote a regional compact for care, which should incorporate governments, businesses, social organisations and academia.”
According to Bárcena: “Regional integration must play a key role in the strategies for emerging from this crisis and can be the basis for reorienting international trade towards a transformative recovery with gender equality and sustainability.
“This is not an era of crisis; it is the crisis of an era,” she said. “And it is an opportunity to build that inspiring future for all women, young women, adolescents and girls. It is urgently necessary to redistribute time, resources and power to move towards a new development pattern based on gender equality and sustainability,” Bárcena added.
Meanwhile, María-Noel Vaeza, UN women's regional director for the Americas and the Caribbean, pointed to “the important declaration adopted by the ministers at this meeting, which demonstrates once again how Latin America and the Caribbean comes at the world and global matters, with a very progressive consensus, which shows that progress is happening and we want more.
“We are concerned about the under-representation of women in politics, at both a national and local level, as well as in the committees for responding to the COVID-19 crisis, especially women who are indigenous, Afro-descendent, migrants, young people, women with disabilities, and those representing sexual diversity,” she said. “It is urgently necessary to accelerate legislative and regulatory reforms and innovative policies, and to allocate the resources needed to eradicate the structural barriers that underpin discrimination and gender inequalities.
“During these days of the regional consultation, Latin America and the Caribbean has reaffirmed a position at the vanguard, setting sights on a democratic, parity-based and inclusive horizon,” María-Noel Vaeza added.
In her remarks, Gladys Acosta Vargas, chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) said that “the mandate for complying with the CEDAW, a convention ratified by 189 countries, is not just for the executive branch but also for the legislative and judicial branches, and for non-state agents who have the same responsibility to respect the convention”.
She also anticipated that “the contribution of Latin American and Caribbean countries will be fundamental” in the preparation of a general recommendation on the rights of indigenous women and girls.
In the declaration, delegates proposed, among other things, to “redouble efforts and commitment to make gender parity a state policy and to ensure women's equal access to decision-making positions in all branches and areas of the State, including the judiciary, and in national, subnational and local governments, through legislative and electoral initiatives and measures to ensure parity representation in all areas and levels of political power”.
ECLAC said representatives from 34 member states — along with 10 associate members, 16 agencies, funds and programmes, five intergovernmental bodies and around 260 civil society organisations participated in the conference.
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