The role of the state is essential in securing women’s economic empowerment and moving towards a caring society for a transformative recovery in sustainability and equality, agreed government officials and experts from America. Latin America and Europe at an event organized by ECLAC as part of the month-long series “Development in Transition: Dialogues to Charting New Paths for Latin America and the Caribbean”.
The event on women’s autonomy and the economy of care in the context of a transformative and sustainable recovery with equality, participated Mario Cimoli, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); Nadine Gasman, President of the National Institute of Women of Mexico, and also in her capacity as co-chair of the Generation Equality Forum; María José Abud, Under-Secretary for Women and Gender Equity of Chile, a country chairing the presidents of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean; Juan Daniel Oviedo, director of the National Administrative Department of Statistics of Colombia, a country currently chairing the Statistical Conference of the Americas (SCA); and Marisol Touraine, EUROsociAL + Gender Equality Policy Expert and President of UNITAID. Ana Güezmes, Head of the Gender Division of ECLAC, acted as moderator.
In his opening speech, Mario Cimoli, Deputy Executive Secretary of ECLAC, underlined the urgency of integrating a gender perspective in all post-pandemic recovery plans and programs, as well as in all fiscal and industrial projects. technology, short and long term, and employment creation policies, to ensure women’s economic empowerment in the interests of equality and sustainability. The healthcare economy is a driving sector, a driver of recovery and an accelerator of equality, he said.
It is time to put words into action, the senior official said. “Let’s make a qualitative leap, ask for a report on the announcements of gender equality. We must bring to the political, analytical and methodological foreground policies oriented towards economic autonomy and the care society ”, he declared.
Nadine Gasman acknowledged that there is a demand for governments to develop national health care systems and in this regard underlined ECLAC’s call to forge new social, political and fiscal pacts that would center policies on health. well-being and empowerment of women in all their diversity, including indigenous, rural and Afro-descendant women.
The president of the National Institute of Women of Mexico said her country was in the process of approving constitutional reform to make care a right, and she said they were working on a law for a national system of care. She also called on countries to join the Global Alliance for Work in Care, an initiative led by Mexico and UN Women as part of the Generation Equality Forum and in which ECLAC participates.
María José Abud, Government of Chile, shared some of the measures her country has implemented to fight the pandemic, including an employment subsidy with a gender approach, the extension of postnatal leave during the emergency and the strengthening of various care. programs. She also called on countries in the region to be part of the Regional Alliance for the Digitization of Women, launched in February by Chile as part of the 60th Meeting of Presidents of the Regional Conference on Latin American Women and of the Caribbean. “This alliance has already attracted the participation of countries like Uruguay, Costa Rica and Panama, and intergovernmental organizations like ECLAC and UN Women, and private sector leaders like Microsoft,” she noted. .
Chile’s Under-Secretary for Women and Gender Equity also highlighted the visionary perspective of the Santiago Commitment – endorsed at the 14th Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean (held in January 2020 in Chile, before the emergence of the pandemic) – which calls for the implementation of counter-cyclical policies sensitive to gender inequalities in order to mitigate the effects of economic crises on the lives of women, and to promote the care economy while designing comprehensive care systems in a perspective of gender, intersectionality and interculturality and human rights that would promote co-responsibility between women and men, the state, the market, families and the community .
At the same time, Marisol Touraine spoke of Europe’s experience in terms of reception policies, which both freed up time for women, improved their professional integration in general, and forged a promising economic sector. and generator of quality jobs for many of them.
EUROsociAL + expert and president of UNITAID explained that Europe is moving towards a new phase of care policies, as part of its NextGenerationEU plan, which includes the strengthening of state diploma training for s ” engage in care work, strengthening social protection, recognizing a diploma within the sector, and massively integrating technology into these activities. “There is no policy of care without state regulation of the training and social protection of caregivers,” she said, calling for “politicization of care” in the sense of more large presence of governments and public policies.
In his remarks, Juan Daniel Oviedo, from the National Administrative Statistics Department of Colombia, underlined the importance of having updated and disaggregated statistical information “to effectively recognize in which dimensions are the main obstacles to the autonomy of women in the region ”. He further highlighted the sharp decline in employment and high unemployment figures that women face more than a year after the start of the pandemic, as well as the excessive time and unpaid workload of women, which became more pronounced during this period. The National Time Use Survey (ENUT) carried out by Colombia shows that “while women spent an average of 8 hours per day in unpaid work activities between September and December 2020, men spent 3 hours at these same activities ”.
“Latin America and the Caribbean, under the leadership of the Gender Division and ECLAC, has made significant progress, in conjunction with the efforts of other organizations such as UN Women. They have ensured that all our statistical offices are aware that we must produce gender sensitive statistical information ”, in order to promote public policies that would contribute, in the current scenario, to a transformative and sustainable recovery in equality, Oviedo said.
Finally, Ana Güezmes invited the ministers and authorities for the advancement of women to participate in the next meeting of the presidents of the Regional Conference on Latin American and Caribbean Women scheduled for September, which will include a panel on the theme of the care society. . ECLAC called for a move towards a care society that prioritizes the sustainability of life and the protection of the planet and guarantees the rights of those in need of care as well as the rights of those providing such care; this would counteract the precariousness of jobs linked to the care sector and improve working conditions and formalization; and it would give visibility to the multiplier effects of the care economy in terms of welfare, income and time redistribution, employment and economic growth, she said.
“We cannot move towards a new development model without a state approach, regional integration and multilateral partnerships, with the participation of feminist organizations. This is why we are very interested in the conversation between Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe and in the articulation of short term proposals to mitigate the effects of the pandemic with medium and long term policies that would be clearly transformative and structural in order to achieve real equality, in real action, ”she concluded.
The Women’s Empowerment Panel was one of four events organized by ECLAC as part of the Development in Transition Dialogues, which were convened by ECLAC, the European Commission and the OECD Development Center. .