The President of the EU- LAC Foundation, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, has participated in the "XII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean: Women's autonomy in the digital economy and information society" in the Dominican Republic on October 15. The event was organised by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), with the support of the Government of the Dominican Republic, in the framework of the regional agenda for gender equality.
The Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean aims to review compliance with international commitments and analyse regional achievements and challenges in the pursuit of gender equality. The central theme of the twelfth edition of the Conference is women's autonomy in the digital economy and information society. The event brings together government officials, international organisations, experts and civil society representatives to discuss gender issues at the regional and sub-regional levels.
The President of Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, participated in the opening session, where he reiterated that direct support to women has a multiplier effect for society emphasizing the importance of women's economic autonomy, inclusive education and access to financing and entrepreneurship. The inaugural session also counted with interventions by the Executive-Secretary of ECLAC, Alicia Barcena, and the Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Phumzile Mlambo – Ngcuka amongst other high-level speakers. Ms. Alicia Barcena highlighted the efforts that have been generated in public policies of many countries in the region "in order to address the threefold challenge of achieving women's economic, political and physical autonomy", adding that: "equality of women is the other name of dignity and democracy. It is not about including women in a model that subordinates them, but about changing the paradigms of power." Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka went on to stress the importance of women's access to ICTs, as this stimulates income, independence and self-esteem.
In her speech at the roundtable on productive development in the digital age, the President of the EU- LAC Foundation, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, recognized that in the digital age women from both regions are facing common challenges and the persistence of the glass ceiling. Ms Ferrero-Waldner transmitted a threefold message: 1) the development of productivity of countries is interconnected with the participation and empowerment of women in the labour market; 2) developments in information and communication technologies (ICT) lead to changes in the labour market, which in turn open up opportunities for better inclusion of women in the productive chains; 3) to take advantage of these opportunities more work ought to be done for the social acceptance of women as natural actors in the economy and the provision of appropriate child-care infrastructures. Furthermore, the inclusion of gender amongst the priorities of the bi-regional relationship in the CELAC-EU Action Plan 2013-2015, reflects the political commitment to the issue, and will enable the mainstreaming of gender issues to the other chapters of the regional relationship.
The Conference will end on October 18th. For more information please consult the official website here