UN Women Deputy Executive Director to participate in pre-CSW meeting in Panama

Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017

Photo: UN Women/Rick Bajornas.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri will attend the Regional Consultations for Latin America and the Caribbean, to be held in Panama City, from 6 – 8 February, in the lead up to the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61).

The intergovernmental meeting will convene top gender officials from 25 countries from the region to forge a common position on women´s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, the priority theme for the upcoming CSW61 to be held in New York in March.

In preparation for the regional consultations, more than 75 members of women’s organizations and regional networks are also gathering for a meeting on 6 February.

The Deputy Executive Director will speak at the opening ceremony of the consultation and contribute to the working sessions. During her visit to Panama, she will also meet the Secretary-General of the Latin American Parliament, the Vice-President of the Republic of Panama and members of civil society from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Women´s economic empowerment is a particularly important issue for Latin America and the Caribbean as the region is currently facing sluggish economic growth. UN Women estimates that closing the gender gaps in the labour market could increase the region's GDP per capita by 14 per cent[1].

Notwithstanding the progress made in the last decades, women´s participation in the workforce is still 26 per cent lower than men´s in the region, and their unemployment rate is 50 per cent higher. Women earn a regional average of 19 per cent less than their male counterparts[2]. These economic inequalities are even more pronounced for women of colour, young and indigenous women.

With an indigenous population of close to 10 per cent in Latin America[3], the empowerment of indigenous women, which is the emerging theme of CSW61, is another priority on the agenda of the intergovernmental meeting.

The pre-CSW61 consultations in Latin America and the Caribbean are co-convened by the Ministries of Women´s Affairs of Panama and Uruguay, and UN Women´s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.

For updates from the region consultations, please follow @onumujeres (Spanish), @un_csw (English) and the hashtag #CSW61 on Twitter.


Related link: Africa to speak in one voice on key issues to boost women’s economic empowerment at CSW61

 

Highlights

Elias Castillo, Secretary-General of the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri. Photo: UN Women/Eduard Serran
Elias Castillo, Secretary-General of the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri. Photo: UN Women/Eduard Serra 

During her visit to Panama for the Regional Consultations in Preparation for CSW61, UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri met with Elias Castillo, Secretary-General of the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament (Parlatino). One of the oldest democratic institutions in the region, the Parlatino is a key partner of UN Women in promoting women’s equal political participation and overcoming discriminatory laws. After discussing unpaid care work and the opportunities for women in the care economy in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Deputy Executive Director honoured Congressman Castillo’s commitment to gender equality with a HeForShe pin.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri (center) with Mariella Mazzotti (left), Women’s Minister of Uruguay and Panamanian women’s minister, Liriola Leoteau (right). Photo: UN Women/Eduard Serran
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri (center) with Mariella Mazzotti (left), Women’s Minister of Uruguay and Panamanian women’s minister, Liriola Leoteau (right). Photo: UN Women/Eduard Serra 

"We are here to support you and be led by you to strengthen gender equality—both in Panama and in the region," said Ms. Puri in conversation with the Panamanian Women’s Minister, Liriola Leoteau prior to the opening ceremony of the Regional Consultations for CSW61. The Deputy Executive Director thanked the Minister for hosting the consultations together with the Parlatino, and for the continuous support to UN Women. 

Later they were joined by Mariella Mazzotti, Women’s Minister of Uruguay and co-host of the consultations. “We think the consultations will be very effective and we expect a strong final declaration,” she assured. Liriola Leoteau agreed: “Latin America is ready to step it up for gender equality.” The ministers expressed the need to ensure that the regional declaration in Latin America and the Caribbean has a strong impact on the Agreed Conclusions of CSW61 in New York. 

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri and Vice President of Panama and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Isabel Saint Malo. Photo: UN Women/Eduard Serran
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri and Vice President of Panama and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Isabel Saint Malo. Photo: UN Women/Eduard Serra 

With the Vice President of Panama and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Isabel Saint Malo, the Deputy Executive Director discussed recent international agreements for gender equality and the unprecedented opportunity to build on the consensus. “This is an important conjunction and we are counting on the leadership of leaders like you,” she said. Ms. Saint Malo agreed and stressed that "we need to go from consensus to action." For a Planet 50-50 by 2030, much work was left to be done, but “you can count on us,” she said.

Speakers at the official Inauguration of the Regional Consultations for Latin America and the Caribbean prior to CSW61. Photo: UN Women/Eduard Serran
Speakers at the official Inauguration of the Regional Consultations for Latin America and the Caribbean prior to CSW61. Photo: UN Women/Eduard Serra 

At the official Inauguration of the Regional Consultations for Latin America and the Caribbean prior to CSW61, Ms. Puri focused on the priority theme of Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work and called for concrete action. “We must address and close the wide gender gaps that exist in terms of women’s labour force participation, wage, income pension, vulnerable and informal employment, social protection, unpaid care work and domestic work, entrepreneurship and leadership, sticky floors, glass walls and ceilings,” she said, addressing the 25 women’s ministers and gender officials from the region and almost 80 representatives of women’s and feminist movementsRead her speech»

In her remarks, Ms. Puri made reference to the strong women’s movement in Latin America and called it an inspiration for the world. With regards to the emerging theme at CSW61 of empowering indigenous women, she stated: “We have high expectations for this region’s vibrant indigenous organizations and networks to push the boundaries and aim for bolder commitments from Member States; and for Latin American and Caribbean countries to showcase their advances in ensuring indigenous peoples and indigenous women their rightful place in the economy, world of work and decision-making at all levels.” 

The official Inauguration of the Regional Consultations for Latin America and the Caribbean prior to CSW61. Photo: UN Women/Eduard Serran
The official Inauguration of the Regional Consultations for Latin America and the Caribbean prior to CSW61. Photo: UN Women/Eduard Serra

Notes

[1] UN Women (2015). Progress of the World’s Women: Transforming economies, realizing rights

[2] UN Women (2015). Progress of the World’s Women: Transforming economies, realizing rights

[3] ECLAC. Current situation of indigenous and afro-american peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean. Available from http://www.cepal.org/cgi-bin/getProd.asp?xml=/prensa/noticias/comunicados/2/132/P132.xml&xsl=/prensa/tpl-i/p6f.xsl&base=/prensa/tpl-i/top-bottom.xsl