Regional debate on parity with equity evaluates the progress and challenges of women in the continent, parallel to the VII Summit of the Americas.

Date: Sunday, April 19, 2015

Panama

"The empowerment of women, and the respect for gender equality and women’s rights must be a priority for the Americas. Progress or setbacks in gender equality are critical for achieving the goals of prosperity and equity in the region and, therefore, affect and influence each of the challenges that the Summit of the Americas will discuss.” This was the main statement of the side event to the VII Summit of the Americas that focused on analyzing the progress of women in the Americas as part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action.

The event, organized by UN Women, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), in collaboration with the Government of Panama, had the objective to make a critical assessment of the progress and remaining challenges in the Americas in regards to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action - 20 years after its adoption – particularly in those areas related to economic autonomy, unpaid work and care work. The idea was to provide concrete proposals to accelerate the pace of change for women in the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and to incorporate a gender perspective in the Declaration of the VII Summit of the Americas, which will serve as a roadmap for the region's development for the upcoming years.

debate regional
Luiza Carvalho, Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean opened the debate highlighting the importance of the economic empowerment of women in the development of the region.

                                                                            The event was chaired by H.E. Isabel St. Malo de Alvarado, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama, Mr. José Miguel Insulza, Secretary-General of the OAS; and Ms. Luiza Carvalho, Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean, with an active participation of a panel of ministers, congresswomen and prominent regional experts.

The debate focused on gender equality, empowerment of women, women's rights, care policies and the impact of gender inequality in the Americas.

Within the discussion, it was emphasized that cultural attitudes and norms regarding the roles and traditional gender stereotypes continue to be significant challenges for the full realization of the rights of women in the region. On the other hand, women continue to be the face of poverty in the region and continue to be underrepresented in positions of power and decision-making, not to mention that although women have gained access to higher levels of education, such access is not consonant with their incorporation into the paid labor market.

The debate was intended to review the progress on gender equality since the Beijing Platform for Action was adopted, highlighting the economic aspects within the framework of the goals of the Post 2015 Agenda, and to contribute to the Summit of the Americas in 2015 on prosperity with equity.