UN Women's Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean introduces new members of its Civil Society Advisory Group 2023-2025



Date: September 20, 2023

Civil society advisory groups (CSAGs) are the institutional mechanisms for regular consultation between UN Women and feminist and women's organizations and networks. CSAGs exist nationally in most UN Women regional offices, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. In other cases, CSAGs are linked to specific initiatives, such as Spotlight in the English-speaking Caribbean countries. 

This formal participation mechanism is complemented by the periodic open meetings with feminist and civil society organizations that UN Women convenes in Latin America and the Caribbean regularly online, with an average participation of about 100 representatives of organizations and networks. 

In the renewal of the regional CSAG, which opened in 2023, eight candidates were selected from 206 applications received from 12 countries in the region, responding to the criteria of intersectionality and geographic representation. They join Ruth Spencer, who has remained a member of the CSAG since its previous term. 

With this call and given the large number of nominations received, the importance of the candidates' work and background and the relevance of their organizations and networks for advancing gender equality is recognized. 

UN Women is grateful to the 206 candidates and the organizations that supported them for their response to the call, hoping that those candidates who were not selected can be incorporated into UN Women's various regional, country, and multilateral activities. They have all been incorporated into the live regional database that will be used to convene open meetings with civil society, future consultations calls for proposals, and activities of the UN Women Regional Office. As a result, there is expected to be greater outreach and dialogue with social organizations in the region in the hope that they can participate actively as partners and invitees. 

  • Ruth Spencer, Chair of the Marine Ecosystem Protected Areas Trust (MEPA Trust), Antigua and Barbuda   
  • Edurne Cárdenas, Partnerships Coordinator, IPAS for Latin America and the Caribbean, Argentina.   
  • Jimena Freitas, Emeritus Professor, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés de La Paz, Bolivia.  
  • Camila Maturana, Director of Corporación Humanas, Regional Centre for Human Rights and Gender Justice, Chile.  
  • Floridalma López, Member of the Guatemalan Parliament for Children and Adolescents, Guatemala.  
  • Dapthne Cuevas Ortiz, member of the Political Coordination of the Articulación Feminista Marcosur, AFM, Mexico.  
  • Olga Montúfar Contreras, President of the Network of Indigenous and Afro-descendant Women with Disabilities of Latin America and the Caribbean, Mexico.   
  • Sofía Carrillo Zegarra, member and co-founder of Alianza por la Educación Sexual Integral Sí Podemos, Peru.  
  • Terry Ince, Coordinator of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Trinidad and Tobago (CCoTT). CEDAW Committee, Trinidad and Tobago. 

Who are they? 

Ruth Spencer, from Antigua and Barbuda, is a three-time recipient of the Energy, Climate Change, and Environment Award. Her passion, dedication, and commitment have enabled integrated people-centered development using bottom-up approaches. Ruth builds the capacities of local community groups to give visibility and empower their work, ensuring that women's and gender concerns are mainstreamed into many of the SDGs, the Escazu Agreement, and multilateral conventions on environment, waste management, biodiversity, climate change, and mercury. It connects local processes with global ones by exchanging case studies, presentations, and knowledge management products. She believes that the skill sets, capacities and knowledge of local people in diverse communities should be part of the overall decision-making process, so she advocates for solid governance processes. Her values drive her work. Ruth has been nominated and appointed to many national and international working groups. She received her Master's degree in International Development Economics and graduate studies in project evaluation at Yale University. 

Edurne Cárdenas, from Tucumán, Argentina, presents herself as a feminist lawyer with postgraduate studies in human rights and gender. She is currently part of the IPAS Latin America and the Caribbean team as regional coordinator of Alliances. During December 2019 and December 2021, she was part of the National Ministry of Women, Gender, and Diversity as General Director of Institutional Relations. Previously, she managed the gender area of the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) and was part of its international team. She has been part of CLADEM (Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defence of Women's Rights) and coordinated the Argentinean chapter. She has also worked as an advisor, consultant, and researcher for various public bodies, universities, and non-governmental organizations on human rights, gender, sexual and reproductive rights, and migrants' rights. 

Jimena Freitas, a Bolivian national, holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Work, a Master's degree in Development Policy and Gender and Development, and a Ph.D. in Development Sciences from the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in La Paz, Bolivia, as well as other complementary studies. She is currently an Emeritus Professor of Social Work at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in the areas of public and social policies, research, and social work. She has worked in various organizations in Bolivia (former director of the La Paz Foundation) and abroad, contributing to projects with women, social organizations, and local governments. She is a consultant on gender, violence, sexual and reproductive rights, and political and social advocacy strategies. She is currently a member of Alerta Montevideo, Comité Prolaicidad, and Comité Impulsor por la Agenda Política y Legislativa de las Mujeres) and Articulación Feminista Marcosur. 

Camila Maturana Kesten, from Chile, is a feminist lawyer and holds a Master's degree in International Human Rights Law from the Diego Portales University (Chile). For over 20 years, she has worked in various feminist organizations, such as Casa de la Mujer de Valparaíso, Foro de Salud y Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos, Red de Salud de las Mujeres Latinoamericanas y del Caribe RSMLAC (Red Salud Mujeres Latinoamérica y El Caribe), and Corporación La Morada. She is currently director of Corporación Humanas Chile and has extensive experience in defense of human rights and women's rights focused on advocacy, strategic litigation, and alliances, promoting initiatives on violence against women, human rights institutions, equality and non-discrimination, citizenship, political reforms and parity, sexual and reproductive rights and ratification and implementation of international human rights treaties. 

Floridalma López Atz, from Guatemala, is a rural Mayan Kaqchikel indigenous woman from Pachay, San Martín Jilotepeque, Chimaltenango. At nine, she began her activism and leadership in the Guatemalan Parliament for Children, Adolescents, and Youth, of which she is currently an advisor. In 2020, she was awarded Outstanding Woman of the Year and received the National Youth Leadership Award 202. She is a leader, socio-environmental activist, and human rights defender and holds a degree in Legal and Social Sciences, Law, and Notary from the University of San Carlos de Guatemala. She is currently dedicated to training and empowering young people and women in advocacy, promoting and creating spaces for political participation, accompanying and strengthening leadership, and coordinating campaigns to strengthen and promote initiatives in different national and international spaces. She is a member of collectives such as Plataforma de Mujeres Indígenas, Colectivo La Enredadera, Movimiento Juvenil Caminantes, and CONALIGUA. 

Daptnhe Cuevas Ortiz, from Mexico, is a feminist and consultant specializing in gender equality and women's human rights. She has participated in various advocacy processes in Mexico and Latin America, both in promoting laws and public policies, as well as in regional and international agreements. She is widely recognized for her participation in the process of drafting the Montevideo Consensus in 2013 and is a co-author of the mapping of agreed language that served as a basis for advocacy by civil society organizations. She studied for a master's degree in economics at the Universidad Anáhuac, specialized in public policy with a gender perspective at INDES in Washington D.C., and holds a degree in social psychology from UAM Xochimilco. In 2011, the Inmujeres of Mexico City awarded her the Omecíhuatl medal; in 2016, the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District awarded her the Hermila Galindo medal, and in 2021, she received the Elvia Carrillo Puerto award, the most prestigious award given by the Mexican Senate, for her work and career. She is currently a member of the Articulación Feminista Marcosur. 

Olga Montúfar Contreras, from Mexico, is an indigenous Nahua woman with mobility disability, with a degree in Industrial Mechanics and a Master's in Development and Social Policy. She has been a fellow of the OHCHR Indigenous Leaders programme and an intern with OHCHR Mexico for a degree in care, gender, and human rights. She has participated in FLACSO training programmes and has several certificates and degrees for her participation in programmes of the Inter-American and international human rights protection system organized by the IACHR (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights), the American University Washington College of Law, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development, the OISS and the Programme of Experts on Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the University of Deusto. She is president of the Network of Indigenous and Afro-descendant Women with Disabilities of Latin America and the Caribbean and coordinator of the Joint Follow-up Group of the OAS-ADP ( Organization of American States). She is a member of the Collective Coordination Team of Latin American Women with Disabilities and a member of the Consultative Commission of the Ibero-American Disability Programme (PID), and a member of the Indigenous Women's Programme (MILAC) of the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC). 

Sofía Carrillo Zegarra, from Peru, has a degree in Journalism and a Master's degree in Social Management from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. She presents herself as Afro-Peruvian and an activist for human rights and the fight against racism and has vast experience in issues related to sexual and reproductive rights, gender, and interculturality and has participated as an official delegate and/or representative of civil society in international events on Population and Development in several countries. In 2022, Forbes included her in the list of the "50 most powerful women in Peru" for her work in communications and Afro-feminist and anti-racist activism. That year, she was selected as a Latin American figure in Telemundo's "Many Nations, One Destiny" campaign. In 2018, she was recognized by the Peruvian Ministry of Justice and Human Rights for her defense of the rights of the Afro-Peruvian population, women, and excluded and discriminated communities and, in 2019, Amnesty International recognized her as a human rights defender in the framework of the global campaign "Brave." She is the co-founder and current member of the Alianza por la Educación Sexual Integral Sí Podemos! 

Terry Dale Ince, from Trinidad and Tobago, is a behavioral specialist, human rights activist and, advocate, founder, and coordinator of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women of Trinidad and Tobago (CCoTT). CCoTT is an organization of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) committed to the sustainable implementation of the Convention and country review recommendations, convention mandates, and country review recommendations through stakeholder collaboration and education. Her experience includes the technology sector, where she designed and developed solutions for medium and large companies and public agencies. As an advocate, she contributes to practical advocacy and the principles of women's economic and political empowerment and sustainable institutional advocacy mechanisms. She has a practical background in development and gender issues, particularly regarding the inclusion of young people, marginalized communities, and the environment. She lectures on CEDAW and its implementation by civil society, women's empowerment, and leadership and acts as a gender and human rights advisor on election observation missions.