UNITED NATIONS._ By 2030, the United Nations is aiming to resolve one of the most serious issues facing humanity: discrimination against women in the political, economical, social, and cultural spheres.
For U.N. General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, this ambitious target constitutes a necessity in the face of the urgency to advance in sustainable development, the eradication of extreme poverty, and universal access to health care and education.
He cautioned that “the world can never fully meet development and well-being goals if half of the population is unable to reach their full potential.”
During the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-59), held in New York in March, delegates from the five continents agreed on a program aimed at empowering of women and overcoming genderbased inequality. They also laid out the mechanisms to do so.
The progress made since the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing 20 years ago, cannot be underestimated although it is still far from the global equality target.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of U.N.-Women, said that she can not hide her disappointment about the tardy progress of an issue that should be a global priority - especially since it has been demonstrated that great progress can be made when women hold key positions.
During the CSW-59, the former vice-president of South Africa stressed that the time has come to bring the shameful legacy of many centuries of discrimination to an end.
“What kind of world is this that condemns half of the population to second-class citizenship at best and abject slavery at worst? What could it really cost to liberate female potential?” she asked.
As statistics have highlighted, one in every three women suffers physical or sexual violence at some point in her life, merely 22 percent of women hold parliamentary seats, and only 7 percent of government or head of state posts are held by women.
POLITICAL WILL IS THE KEY
At the CSW-59, The Havana Reporter talked to Latin American delegates who shared the view that the statutory political willingness and societal commitment are key to the empowerment of women.
Teresa Amarelle, general secretary of the Federation of Cuban Women, a nongovernmental body comprising 4 million members, said that declarations, campaigns, and events are simply insufficient to solve the problem – what we need is action, and not just words.
According to Amarelle, in Cuba, women hold almost half of all state sector posts and seats at parliament, as well as 52 percent of all employment positions for which university qualifications are required.
Meanwhile, Rosana Alvarado, the vice-president of the Ecuadorian National Assembly, also highlighted how much can be achieved when there is a will to change.
When President Rafael Correa took office in 2007 and started the Citizen´s Revolution in our country, we began to hold spaces unthinkable until then, she said.
According to Alvarado, 47 percent of all university scholarships are awarded to women and nine out of every ten pregnant women are attended by the public health care system.
Meanwhile, Chilean deputy Karol Cariola commented that Michelle Bachelet’s return to presidency about a year ago represented a boost for the gender agenda in her country.
She outlined that even though Chile has not advanced sufficiently, a Ministry for Women has been created, increased incentives for women to partake in the labor market are in place, and an electoral quota law which will result in increased political participation has been passed.Share on FB Share on TT