Caribbean News Service
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, Oct 26 2016 – The XIII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean opened here Tuesday with a strong condemnation of violence against women in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Conference, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Uruguayan government, is taking place Oct. 25-28.
ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, said that “we must put a definitive end to the gender violence that we have witnessed in horror in our countries in recent days. Reality today batters us with scandalous figures of sexist violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, where, on average, 12 women die daily just because they are women. We don’t want to lose even one more woman! It is imperative that we put an end to violence against women!” she stressed.
During her speech, Bárcena addressed the inequalities that women face to exercise not only physical, but also economic and political autonomy. “Today on our continent, poverty still has the face of a woman. For every 100 men in this condition, there are 118 women,” she said, adding that “one third of Latin American women (29 percent) do not manage to generate their own income and nearly half have no ties to the labour market.”
“To these figures we must add the low level of participation by women in the political arena,” given that their presence does not surpass 30 percent in decision-making posts in branches of government, she observed.
Babatunde Osotimehin, from UNFPA, recalled that all Latin American and Caribbean countries have adopted the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, known as the Belém do Pará Convention. “We have a facilitating environment; let’s take advantage of it,” said the senior UN official, who warned during her speech of the high adolescent fertility rate in the region. “Girls and adolescents should have access to sexual and reproductive health,” he asserted.
The XIII Regional Conference on Women is being attended by delegates from 36 ECLAC Member States and two associate members, in addition to officials from 14 agencies of the UN system and representatives from over 200 civil society organizations and gender affairs specialists.