Studies carried out by UN-Women reveal that one of the main obstacles to achieving female empowerment in the sphere of work is the time (threefold higher) that they dedicate to unremunerated domestic tasks and caregiving.
Nubia Piqueras Grosso
The organisation’s estimates suggest that bridging gender gaps in the labour market could increase GDP per capita by 14% in the region.
Nevertheless, the rate of female labour participation is 26% lower than for men and unemployment is 50% higher, as well as female’s earnings on average 19% less. Such disparities are usually higher in young people, afro-descendants and indigenous people.
According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, almost 10% of the region’s population is indigenous and, together with afro-descendants, they represent the worst social and economic indicators, as indicated by high maternal death rate.
In view of this situation, the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament, based in Panama City, recently hosted the regional forum on female economic empowerment, preceding the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which began last week and comes to an end on 24 March at the United Nations, New York.
The most debated topics during the negotiation process include areas related to sexual and reproductive rights, sexual diversity and gender identity, as countries in the region do not all handle those problems in the same way, with their approaches depending on political systems and progress in the area.
However, “we managed to understand the region’s need to advance in the subjects that unite us as countries, which means it is important to boost further feminine participation starting from the State and Government”, said Yanira Kuper, Secretary of International Relations of the Cuban Women’s Federation (CWF).
In an interview with Prensa Latina, the board member of the National Secretariat of the feminine organisation applauded the common stance attained in such an adverse setting, where contributing to consolidating such unity from the stand point of women and gender, in the light of dominating imperial policies, is necessary for the region.
Moreover, the meeting allowed for experiences to be shared, in order to see how in Latin America and the Caribbean “we are making sure that female empowerment responds to the interests, requirements and rights of women as equal human beings”, she indicated.
The female official stressed that the final document, which forms part of the conclusions, also acknowledged the agreements and special declaration on female empowerment, adopted last January at the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, held in the Dominican Republic.
Other widely debated topics were household work, the responsibility of sharing family chores and the need to adequately divide roles between men and women so that the latter have a greater chance of working and accessing different levels of decision making.
Kuper also commented on the need to vastly improve prevention work and attention surrounding gender violence, “so that women are able to rely on mechanisms and related action to address this scourge, which is growing on a regional level, above all in Central America and countries in the south of the continent.”
She assured that the call for equal salaries for women continued to be a demand within these settings, where the establishment of gender budgets for national mechanisms in pursuit of progress for women is absolutely imperative. Kuper stated that achieving full cultural equality at home and in government policy has been one of the basic objectives of the CWF over the past four years, an organisation that seeks to strengthen building the foundations, because that is where the essence of the work lies.
“Cuba is among the counties where women enjoy more social participation, which does not mean we have managed to change mindsets, subjectivity and the power balance between men and women, above all within the family”, she stated.
Despite this, women on the Caribbean island represent 46% of leaders, 66% of the technical and professional force and 48.4% of parliamentarians. This last figure places them fourth in the world. (PL)
Photos: Pixabay – (Translated by Abaigh Wheatley)