Speech by Luiza Carvalho during the XVI International Meeting on Gender Statistics

Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ms Lorena Cruz, President of the National Institute for Women (INMUJERES)

Mr Félix Vélez, Vice President of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI)

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is with much enthusiasm that I have come to Aguascalientes today to participate for the first time as UN Women Regional Director in the International Meeting on Gender Statistics, being held this year in its sixteenth edition. For me personally it is a great pleasure to share this space with you all. I have been looking forward to taking part in this meeting ever since I joined UN Women in November last year, knowing the momentous advances that have been achieved by this renowned and prestigious forum.

I bring special greetings from the Executive Director of UN Women, Mrs Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to every representative from national statistics offices and mechanisms for the advancement of women, from the different powers of States, from the United Nations and from the Academy that is supporting us.

I would like to highlight and recognize the coordinated work by the four institutions convening this meeting, their teams that have made it possible for us to be here, in this sustained effort to consolidate this space for reflection, debate and horizontal cooperation among the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. I would particularly like to thank INEGI for its hospitality in Aguascalientes, the ongoing home for these meetings.

Beijing + 20: a historical overview

And it is doubly satisfying for me to come to this International Meeting in this historic year of 2015, when we are commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the Beijing Conference and the fortieth anniversary of the first World Conference on Women, held here in Mexico.

This year we have concluded an exhaustive process of review and reflection to assess how much we have moved forward and what we still need to do for the commitments made for women 20 years ago to become true reality.

In those historic conferences, United Nations Member States proposed achieving gender equality in all its dimensions. Nevertheless, the review that we have undertaken shows that to date, not one country has succeeded in this. What is worse: at the current rate we will have to wait a further 80 years to achieve substantive equality, that is, real equality on the ground. In this regard the Beijing Platform for Action remains in place and its twentieth anniversary offers new opportunities to renew ties, revitalize the commitments made by the States that signed it and strengthen the political will to promote the advancement of women and achieve gender equality.

CSW

In March this year the Policy Declaration adopted at the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women represented a step forward in that direction. States pledged to take concrete measures to ensure the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action through public policies, enhanced support to institutional mechanisms for gender equality, a significant increase in funding, the development of statistical capacities and accountability.

We recognize the leadership of Mexico and the Latin America Region in the renewal and strengthening of these commitments. On the 27th of this month at the General Assembly of the United Nations and as a close to 18 months of commemorations of the twentieth anniversary of the Beijing Conference, more than 60 heads of state and government will meet at an event that we at UN Women and the Secretary-General of the United Nations are hosting together with the People's Republic of China. The event will be co-led by President Peña Nieto and the four presidents of countries where the Conferences on Women have been held (Mexico, Denmark, Kenya and China).

This event will be a stage for heads of state to announce concrete, measurable and impactful commitments for the women and girls of their countries for the next fifteen years. We are convinced that this will be a decisive step to achieve what we in UN Women have called a "Planet 50-50", of substantive equality, of results, that requires governments to make national commitments that effectively address the difficulties that prevent women and girls from progressing and achieving their full potential.

Post-2015

The prioritization of gender equality and women's and girls' human rights has also been robustly reflected in the proposed Agenda 2030, approved this month in the General Assembly of the United Nations, through a specific goal on gender equality and solid gender mainstreaming in the targets and indicators for the other Sustainable Development Goals, in their means of implementation, global associations and monitoring and review.

From a gender perspective, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals represent a significant advance over the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), since they address development in its three dimensions: economic, social and environmental, and holistically respond to the challenges of equality between women and men, including the gender dimensions related to poverty and inequalities, hunger, health, education, access to water and sanitation, energy, employment and sustainable production, access to justice, safe cities and peace and security, among others.

We are, therefore before a historic and unprecedented opportunity to unite the countries and people of the whole world to make decisions and set out on new pathways to the future. From UN Women, the call we make is to work with speed and solidarity to support transformative goals that make a reality of the joint vision of a planet without discrimination, with equality for women, men, girls and boys, by 2030.

The fundamental role played by gender statistics in this essential effort is clear and has been widely recognized in various forums. Most recently, at the regional review of the Platform for Action for Latin America and the Caribbean prior to CSW 59, held in Santiago de Chile in November 2014 together with ECLAC, countries reaffirmed the importance of having gender statistics and indicators for monitoring the post-2015 development agenda, placing a particular emphasis on dialogue between the producers and users of information and on promoting the allocation by governments of sufficient resources and international cooperation to compile relevant, timely and reliable information. There can be no doubt that the spirit of Aguascalientes is at the heart of the declaration and, more importantly, of the commitments that are guiding the gender statistics working group.

The incorporation of the gender perspective in the production and analysis of statistical information is one of the areas where the Latin America and the Caribbean Region is at the forefront. What is most important is that statistics are used as a basis for public policies and budgets aimed at achieving real gender equality: the equality of results. We continue to be the most innovative region in the production of statistics on time use, including its economic value and the beginning of care policies, in the incorporation of the multi-dimensional measurement of poverty, and in improving our recording of violence against women. But we know that this progress will be that much faster to the extent that statistics offices and mechanisms for the advancement of women maintain a continuous dialogue and join efforts to revolutionize the way in which information is produced and analysed, taking into account the growing demand for gender statistics. This is what we have called the data revolution: what is important is measured and what is measured ends up being important, as the saying goes.

We have to insist on demanding more creativity to build new statistical tools in light of the normative instruments on human rights (CEDAW, Belém do Pará)) and of international agreements for the empowerment and autonomy of women and sustainable development. We need to strengthen harmonization, since progress is clearly uneven in our countries.

To sum up, all this cumulative work of recent years in the production of gender statistics places our region in a position of leadership in this field, thanks to the joint efforts of various institutions at national and regional levels and strategic alliances such as those that have been forged here in Aguascalientes over the last 16 years.

Women's rights are fundamental for sustainable development, peace and international security. The challenges are clear and far from slight. But we have the chance of together promoting unimaginable changes in relation to the development of our societies. This is the work of the days to come and the challenge we shall take home. As we always say, meetings start today and continue to bear fruit throughout the year when they lead to concrete actions in each of their countries.

Congratulations, and thank you.