Forum analyzes actions to empower women, the hardest hit by covid

Quito, Nov 11 (EFE) .- The Women Economic Forum (WEF) 2021, an organization made up of 150 countries, celebrates its annual convention from Ecuador with the aim of continuing to empower women and transform ecosystems, based on initiatives that seek economic progress and its inclusion.

When opening the event, which is being held for the first time in Ecuador, Catalina Cajías, director of WEF Ecuador, recalled that the motto of the event is “to reaffirm, emphasize and recognize the inclusion of women in the economy.”

According to the Ecuadorian ambassador to the US, Ivonne Baki, the Forum in Ecuador has the participation of more than 19 countries and some 88,000 people connected to discuss the role of women in business, leadership, politics, gender equality. and sustainability.

“In times of pandemic, it has been women who have sustained the families and the economy of Ecuador. It is time to protect the articulating role of women in society and their ability to provide lasting solutions to global problems,” he said.

PANDEMIC, A HARD HIT TO THE WOMAN

According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, the pandemic has caused a setback of more than 18 years in the labor force participation of women in Latin America and the Caribbean.

And the drastic shift towards online education, telecommuting and e-commerce has left people with the least access to digital technologies, mostly women and girls, “lagging behind.”

“In addition, it is also women and girls who have absorbed the majority of the care needs created by the pandemic, sacrificing their jobs and their education. In fact, women between 15 and 29 years old are three times more likely to be outside. of the labor market and of the classrooms than men of the same age, “he noted in his virtual speech at the Forum.

He also noted that since the Covid-19 outbreak “all kinds of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified.”

According to María-Noel Vaeza, regional director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean, before the covid, women did 3.5 times more unpaid work in the home than men, a figure that increased with the pandemic , which makes it even more difficult for women to return to the labor market.

“Women continue in that sexual division of labor that has been going on for 2,000 years,” she claimed before adding that now there are more women with university studies, despite which “we have fewer women entering the labor market.”

He asked for greater investment from the State and society in general so that women enter the digital world and that those who normally work in the informal sector have training and platforms that welcome them, among others.

“It is essential to improve their working conditions to prevent them from continuing to be informal economies,” he said, noting that in public policy discriminatory legislation should be eliminated as some countries still do not allow women to open bank accounts.

Likewise, it considers it necessary to place care at the center of a sustainable and fair economy since it influences the well-being of people, the direct and indirect creation of quality employment and the participation of women in the workforce, ” that supposes an income for the State via tax and a greater income for the people “.

A survey carried out in Colombia on the use of time between women and men revealed that women invest it in care: “And if you add it up, in Colombia it gave us 15% of the gross product. If we give the minimum wage to that use of time, it is much larger than any industry. ”

“We are talking about growth taking place on the shoulders of women, free of charge,” he stressed.

The representative of UN Women added that the financial inclusion of women is required to have access to credit: “Only 2% of enterprises led by women in technology have access to financing, this is discriminatory.”

Likewise, he called for macroeconomic policies, social protection, policies that stimulate the work of women, for which he proposes a new social contract based on equality and diversity.

EDUCATION, A FUNDAMENTAL PILLAR

“Less than 10% of presidents or heads of government are women in the entire world,” said Rosalía Arteaga, former president of Ecuador, at the Forum, demanding the possibility of greater participation of women in political life.

For Arteaga, the pandemic warned of the need to strengthen education and public health, and pointed out how the main challenges for society are to overcome inequity, seek that asymmetries are not so deep, and continue working on values.

He spoke of an indissoluble binomial between home and school, which will allow for more equitable societies: “We are witnessing a world where it would seem that values ​​are out of fashion, and they are not out of fashion.”

“Education is always the key, but we also have to think that the laws have to be followed and lead by example” to build a better and equitable world, Arteaga said.

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