Representatives of Member States and associate members of ECLAC who took part in the 12th session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean this week undertook to help the information and knowledge society promote women's economic autonomy and their full and equal participation in all spheres of society and all decision-making processes.
This commitment is part of the Santo Domingo Consensus, which was approved today at the closing of the intergovernmental meeting organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Government of the Dominican Republic, and attended by authorities, international officials, experts and civil-society representatives from the region.
The meeting focused on the links between economic autonomy and women's rights, particularly in the context of the digital economy. The Consensus therefore establishes a series of measures relating to the role of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in gender equality and women's autonomy in its various forms. The Consensus also tackles issues such as sexual and reproductive rights, elimination of violence, political participation and decision-making.
As well as ratifying national commitments undertaken in various international agreements, countries also agreed to "design measures to build a new technological, scientific and digital culture for girls and women" and to "strengthen the mainstreaming of gender across all areas of public policy in connection with productive development".
They also agreed on promoting legislative and educational measures to eradicate and penalize sexist, stereotyped, discriminatory and racist content in the media, software and video games. The use of ICTs and social networking were supported as resources for preventing violence
against women and improving the efficiency and quality of health services.
In the Consensus, delegates agreed to promote women's access to employment by redistributing care work between the State, market and society, and by facilitating training in and use of technology, self-employment and the creation of enterprises in the science and technology sector. Participants were also seeking to increase the proportion of women in areas where they are underrepresented, such as the academic, scientific, technological and ICT sectors.
Country representatives recognized the importance of unpaid work and stated the need to include accounts on unpaid work on the national accounts system in order to facilitate the formulation and implementation of gender equality policies.
In the Consensus, care is recognized as people's right, and therefore a responsibility that must be shared by men and women from all parts of society, families, enterprises and the State. This involves adopting care measures, policies and programmes that promote shared responsibility in family, working and social life - so as to give women time to engage in employment, studies and politics (and enjoy their autonomy fully).
Countries also committed to developing active policies relating to the labour market and productive employment, in order to ensure decent work for all women, combat precarious and informal conditions that affect mainly the female workforce, and guarantee: equal pay for equal work, an equal participation rate, presence without discrimination in decision-making and authoritative positions and the eradication of occupational segregation.
Delegates also agreed to take measures to facilitate women's access to formal financial services such as saving, credit, insurance and transfers - without any type of discrimination barrier and in equal conditions.
The Consensus acknowledges the work of the ECLAC Gender Equality Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean for its contribution to training and capacity-building, to the exchange and dissemination of information and experiences and to drawing attention to the status of women in the region. Countries committed to support that work and reinforce it through the provision of economic information on the situation of women.
Similarly, delegates suggested developing policies to realize the commitments and targets of the World Summit on the Information Society and the Plan of Action for the Information and Knowledge Society in Latin America and the Caribbean (eLAC2015), for which ECLAC acts as technical secretariat. Countries also felt it necessary to support the inclusion of the issue of gender equality and women's empowerment in the post-2015 development agenda.
Lastly, the Consensus thanked the Government (and particularly the Ministry of Women of the Dominican Republic) for the efficient organization of the meeting, and stated that the 13th session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean will be held in Uruguay.
Santo Domingo Consensus (full text).