Coverage: Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri at the XIII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean

Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The XIII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean in Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo: UN Women/Diego Nessi
The XIII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean in Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo: UN Women/Diego Nessi

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri participated with President of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez; Rodolfo Nin Novoa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay; Marina Arismendi, Minister of Social Development of Uruguay; Alicia Barcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC; and Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, at the opening ceremony of the XIII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean in Montevideo, Uruguay.

25 October

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri during the XIII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean in Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo: UN Women/Diego Nessi
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri during the XIII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean in Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo: UN Women/Diego Nessi

In front of almost 800 Ministers, heads of national women’s machineries and government officials, representatives of civil society, women’s organizations and networks and the feminist movement of Latin America and the Caribbean, Ms. Puri highlighted the key role of the Regional Conferences in advancing the regional gender agenda since 1977, year of the first conference in Havana, Cuba.

This is the first edition of the Regional Conference since the adoption of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development, which gives a unique opportunity to end poverty and transform gender relations irreversibly, and ending gender inequality by 2030. Ms. Puri emphasized that now it is time to firmly maintain the achievements and progress that women have conquered.

Prior to the opening ceremony, UN Women Deputy Executive Director met with Tabaré Vázquez President of Uruguay, to discuss UN Women’s presence in the country, as well as Uruguay’s champion role in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in the Region and beyond.

Lakshmi Puri, UN Women Deputy Executive Director, meets President of Uruguay, Tobaré Vázquez upon her arrival in Montevideo for the XIII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean. Photo: UN Women
Lakshmi Puri, UN Women Deputy Executive Director, meets President of Uruguay, Tobaré Vázquez upon her arrival in Montevideo for the XIII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean. Photo: UN Women

26 October

On the second day of the XIII Regional Conference on Women, Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri, participated in the High-level “Gender Equality at the Centre of Sustainable Development” panel with representatives of UNFPA, ECLAC, UNICEF, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the government of Uruguay.

Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri, participated in the High-level “Gender Equality at the Centre of Sustainable Development” panel with representatives of UNFPA, ECLAC, UNICEF, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the government of Uruguay. Photo: UN Women/Diego Nessi
Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri, participated in the High-level “Gender Equality at the Centre of Sustainable Development” panel with representatives of UNFPA, ECLAC, UNICEF, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the government of Uruguay. Photo: UN Women/Diego Nessi

In her remarks, Ms. Puri emphasized that there will not be economic growth or social inclusion without gender equality. “We will not be able to tackle inequality or achieve environmental sustainability without women’s empowerment. The current economic system doesn’t work for women, but neither benefits from their full potential. An economic revolution is needed”, she added. She also highlighted the importance of social consciences that can change the rules, addressing violence, discrimination and impunity. 

Later in the afternoon, UN Women presented the Latin America and Caribbean Report Women’s Economic Empowerment in Challenging Times at the side event “Transforming the economies to realize women´s rights in Latin America and the Caribbean”.

UN Women Executive Director Lakshmi Puri served on the High-level “Gender Equality at the Centre of Sustainable Development” panel with María Nieves Rico (ECLAC), Álvaro García (Government of Uruguay), Babatunde Osotimehin (UNFPA), María Cristina Perceval (UNICEF) and Elizabeth Odio Benito (IACHR). Photo: UN Women/Diego Nessi
A panel presents the Women’s Economic Empowerment in Challenging Times report. Photo: UN Women/Diego Nessi

The Regional Report includes an assessment of progress in improving gender equality in the last 20 years in the area of women´s economic empowerment and seeks to identify the processes that contribute more significantly to the current situation, including the identification of bottlenecks that are limiting women´s economic empowerment and how these are strongly influenced by major inequalities in income and social conditions, including patriarchal regimes and class, ethnic and geographical inequalities.

Alejandra Mora, Minister of Gender Affairs of Costa Rica, presented the preliminary results and recommendations of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, presented last September during the General Assembly and which the President of Costa Rica co-chairs. The Report seeks to draw attention to the challenges faced by the most disadvantaged women, to bring informal work from the margins to the mainstream, to highlight how discriminatory laws limit choice and to shed light on the centrality of unpaid work and care, which is one of the most pervasive and significant barriers to women’s economic empowerment.

Ernesto Murro, Minister of Work and Social Security shared the experience of Uruguay’s care system as a good practice to create long term conditions for women’s economic empowerment; provision of quality care services; and means of sustaining investments in gender-responsive social protection.

José Carrera, Vice-President, Social Development, Latin America Development Bank CAF, carried the voice of the private sector and shared CAF’s experience on how the banking sector supports women’s economic empowerment. Currently CAF and UN Women have several projects in the region, including a program on cultural identity and rural territorial development in Bolivia; women leading sustainable inclusive development in Ecuador; and with the sugar industry in Argentina.

UN Women Executive Director Lakshmi Puri with Ministers attending the XIII Regional Conferences on Women. Photo: UN Women/Diego Nessi
UN Women Executive Director Lakshmi Puri with Ministers attending the XIII Regional Conferences on Women. Photo: UN Women/Diego Nessi

During her visit to Montevideo, Ms. Puri also had time to informally meet over breakfast with Ministers attending the XIII Regional Conferences on Women from all over the region, to discuss on challenges, achievements and good practices in their countries, as well as to explore new opportunities for collaboration with UN Women, including south-south cooperation.