Coverage: UN Women Deputy Executive Director attends pre-CSW meeting in Panama
Date: 08 February 2017
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri attended the Regional Consultations for Latin America and the Caribbean, in Panama City, from 6 – 8 February, in the lead up to the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61). The intergovernmental meeting convened top gender officials from 25 countries from the region to forge a common position on women´s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, the priority theme for the upcoming CSW61 to be held in New York in March.
Elaborating on macroeconomic policies that promote the economic empowerment of women, Ms. Puri urged for reforms to ensure women have equal rights to economic resources, as well as ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws. Ms. Puri underlined the need to enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women. “We have to create a level playing field for women at work,” she stated, noting that there were still 155 countries that discriminated against women’s economic empowerment.
Between working sessions, Ms. Puri had discussions with women’s and gender officials from the region and affirmed that she wanted Latin America and the Caribbean to have a strong impact on the intergovernmental negotiations for CSW61 in New York. She lauded the region for its progressive role as a defender of women’s rights on the international level and stressed that in the current political climate, “Latin America and the Caribbean have to come together and affirm multilateralism.”
The Deputy Executive Director also met with a host of civil society leaders from the region, including representatives of indigenous women and youth movements. “We need to make sure that the women’s movement gets energized and en-youthed and the youth movement must be engendered,” she told them. In her farewell greetings to the ministers and civil society representatives, she shared: “I am deeply moved and always so inspired by being among women activists who are in the trenches. This is a big tribute to you from UN Women. I hope that we will continue to work together to bring the 2030 agenda forward.”
During her visit to Panama for the Regional Consultations in Preparation for CSW61, UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri met with Elias Castillo, Secretary-General of the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament (Parlatino). One of the oldest democratic institutions in the region, the Parlatino is a key partner of UN Women in promoting women’s equal political participation and overcoming discriminatory laws. After discussing unpaid care work and the opportunities for women in the care economy in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Deputy Executive Director honoured Congressman Castillo’s commitment to gender equality with a HeForShe pin.
"We are here to support you and be led by you to strengthen gender equality—both in Panama and in the region," said Ms. Puri in conversation with the Panamanian Women’s Minister, Liriola Leoteau prior to the opening ceremony of the Regional Consultations for CSW61. The Deputy Executive Director thanked the Minister for hosting the consultations together with the Parlatino, and for the continuous support to UN Women.
Later they were joined by Mariella Mazzotti, Women’s Minister of Uruguay and co-host of the consultations. “We think the consultations will be very effective and we expect a strong final declaration,” she assured. Liriola Leoteau agreed: “Latin America is ready to step it up for gender equality.” The ministers expressed the need to ensure that the regional declaration in Latin America and the Caribbean has a strong impact on the Agreed Conclusions of CSW61 in New York.
With the Vice President of Panama and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Isabel Saint Malo, the Deputy Executive Director discussed recent international agreements for gender equality and the unprecedented opportunity to build on the consensus. “This is an important conjunction and we are counting on the leadership of leaders like you,” she said. Ms. Saint Malo agreed and stressed that "we need to go from consensus to action." For a Planet 50-50 by 2030, much work was left to be done, but “you can count on us,” she said.
At the official Inauguration of the Regional Consultations for Latin America and the Caribbean prior to CSW61, Ms. Puri focused on the priority theme of Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work and called for concrete action. “We must address and close the wide gender gaps that exist in terms of women’s labour force participation, wage, income pension, vulnerable and informal employment, social protection, unpaid care work and domestic work, entrepreneurship and leadership, sticky floors, glass walls and ceilings,” she said, addressing the 25 women’s ministers and gender officials from the region and almost 80 representatives of women’s and feminist movements. Read her speech»
In her remarks, Ms. Puri made reference to the strong women’s movement in Latin America and called it an inspiration for the world. With regards to the emerging theme at CSW61 of empowering indigenous women, she stated: “We have high expectations for this region’s vibrant indigenous organizations and networks to push the boundaries and aim for bolder commitments from Member States; and for Latin American and Caribbean countries to showcase their advances in ensuring indigenous peoples and indigenous women their rightful place in the economy, world of work and decision-making at all levels.”