Let’s commemorate Afro-descendant women of Latin America and the Caribbean

Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, on March 21st, and the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, March 25th, UN Women raises the voice against all the forms of discrimination and inequality that many black and afro-descendant women experience in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Afrodescendant women in Panama/ Photo: Fernando Bocanegra/UN Women
The afro-descendant population in the region, and women in particular, continue to be confronted with situations of discrimination, stigmatization and gender inequality. In many countries, afro-descendant women have not experienced a significant improvement of their living conditions. Access to adequate education, employment, housing and maternal as well as reproductive health care in many countries is not provided and/or not ensured. For this reason it is necessary to promote opportunities and capacities to ensure their access to greater political participation and to positions of decision-making in all of the spheres concerning their lives.

Likewise, it is fundamental to recognize the role that afro-descendant women have played within the region. They are a substantial part of our identity and have been remarkable agents in the development of our countries and cultures, in some as a part of a majority population, in others as part of minority populations.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed the period 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent with the objective of promoting an improved understanding and respect for the diversity of afro-descendant heritage and culture and for their contribution to the development of societies. In this regard, UN Women’s Executive Director Ms Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka expressed: “The International Decade for People of African Descent and the Sustainable Development Goals must lead us to substantive equality for women of every race, colour and shape, everywhere in the world.”

UN Women works to empower afro-descendent women to live free of racial and gender-related discrimination and, thus, to enjoy a life of dignity and realize their potential through the full enjoyment of their rights.