Women in the Latin American and Caribbean region still face obstacles to full participation in political life, says the former president of Costa Rica Laura Chinchillawho cites the lack of regulations, their implementation, social contexts and prejudices among the difficulties.
“There is still a refusal to recognize women as an important political entity”, he expressed Chinchillacoordinator of the High Level Group of the Organization of American States (OAS) to promote the political participation of women.
The delegation is in the Dominican Republic to promote the recommendations of the electoral observation missions on female representation in politics.
In a statement, the OAS reported that between 2012 and 2020 its electoral observation missions have carried out 14 recommendations to Dominican Republic to advance towards a more equal legislation in the candidacies, as well as the allocation of financial resources for the promotion of leaderships and candidacies.
Also, the adoption of measures to prevent, punish and eradicate political violence against womenyes Laura Chinchilla specifies that the group was created because, despite the recommendations, “the need to adopt measures to speed up the process of women’s political participation was evident”.
erosion of democracy
Reports on the erosion of democracy are well known and this situation also affects women. “When we talk about the deterioration of democracy, we are talking about the deterioration of political rights and it is usually women who are going to suffer the most due to their situation of vulnerability,” says the Costa Rican.
“At the time we are fighting for more political rights for women, we are also fighting for the strengthening of democracy,” she adds.
women in positions of power
Laura Chinchilla regrets that, despite the great participation of women in electoral processes, as it has verified, the same situation is not reflected in positions of power. “Those who make it possible for elections to take place are women. (…) In some countries it reaches almost 70% of the women who make it possible for the elections to take place”, she expresses.
Ministry of women
The group began the work with a meeting with Mayra Jimenez, Minister of Dominican Women, who noted that in the Dominican Republic there are a stalemate in the political participation of women despite the advances in recent decades with the quota system.
Jiménez pointed out that despite the “good” legal framework, female representation in elected positions remains below the regulations. “What evidence, that along with the legal reforms, also there has to be a cultural change and a profound reform within our political organizations”, he expressed.
The official spoke about the mechanisms implemented by the Ministry for the full participation of women in political life.
“It is necessary that women are at the center of power, that we are not visitors of power and generating this level of discussion contributes to it,” she said.
Improve the legal framework, so that substantive, horizontal and vertical parity leaves no room for ambiguity in its implementation.
Promote changes within the party structures so that they are guarantors of gender equality and equity and with a parity vocation. Strengthen the political capacities of women so that they can respond to the challenges of power and break down the barriers that make it impossible for them to participate in equal conditions.
Work on a general care policy that allows greater reconciliation between professional, family and political life.
Make visible and strengthen the national response to political violence, for which the Model Law on Political Violence promoted by the CIM has been key.
Improve women’s access to electoral justice.