Social Issues

Americas promote equality, reject gender-based violence on Women’s Day

Americas Desk, Mar 8 (EFE).- Governments, multilateral organizations and civic organizations across the Americas commemorated International Women’s Day on Wednesday with messages of support, announcements to advance gender equality and the denouncement of violence against women.

United States President Joe Biden pointed out that “the rights of women and girls are still under attack,” using examples in Afghanistan, Iran and Ukraine, and highlighted measures adopted by his administration to combat gender-based violence, such as the increase of funding to the Violence Against Women Act to $700 million, the most in history, to improve access to services, justice and care for survivors.

In Mexico, where Amnesty International denounced the negligence and omission of the State to prevent and eradicate violence against women, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador self-proclaimed his administration as “feminist.”

Meanwhile, in Brazil, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced 20 measures to achieve equal pay, combat gender violence and guarantee menstrual health, among others.

Also in South America, the governments of Peru and Colombia spoke out in favor of female empowerment.

“I reiterate my commitment, the government’s commitment, to gender equality and the empowerment of women in all spheres,” said Peru’s President Dina Boluarte, who came to power by congressional appointment after the ouster of Pedro Castillo.

At the same time, Colombia’s Vice President Francia Márquez recalled that “the responsibility to guarantee the rights of women in Colombia does not belong only to women” and honored the “indigenous, peasant, Afro-descendant and feminists of Colombia who have carried the flag high.”

During the day, thousands of women mobilized throughout the continent demanding the upholding of their rights, and vindicating the feminist struggle that in recent years has made significant progress in terms of reproductive rights, such as the case of Colombia, where in February last year, the Constitutional Court decriminalized abortion up till the 24th week of pregnancy.

In Mexico, thousands gathered at the iconic Glorieta de las Mujeres que Luchan (Women Who Fight Roundabout) and, for the first time, cancer survivors joined as a contingent to be part of the demonstration.

Women who identified as “fat” also mobilized to combat the pejorative association of the word, and formed another contingent to march for those made invisible in this type of activity.

Earlier, in Venezuela, some 300 women took to the streets to demand compliance with their labor rights, as well as improvements in regulations that cover issues such as gender violence or sexual and reproductive health, among other issues.

President Nicolás Maduro announced the creation of a social program with which, he promised, “women will be placed in the center of attention” of his government’s work, without mentioning the demonstrations that took place during the day.

In Cuba, the day was commemorated without government authorization to carry out protest marches, but there were “congratulations” to the islanders from various official organizations.

Indigenous people in Ecuador, feminists “against hunger and oppression” in Uruguay, and Panamanian activists, workers and professionals spoke out to demand a dignified, free life with the right to social security.

The commemoration of International Women’s Day in the Americas also became an opportunity to raise reproductive rights.

In the Dominican Republic, Minister for Women Mayra Jiménez stressed that in the country, where a total ban on the termination of pregnancy is in force, the issue of abortion cannot continue to be postponed.

Likewise, various organizations warned of the wave of gender-based violence that continues to be a problem in the region, as is the case in Argentina, where during the first two months of this year there were reportedly 51 femicides.

Countries such as Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador have reported 76, 16 and 12 femicides, respectively, so far this year, according to figures from organizations that work for women’s rights.

These numbers in Central America are not dissimilar to other countries on the continent such as Brazil, which in 2022 registered 1,410 femicides, up 5 percent higher on 2021 (1,337); those of Peru, where the Judiciary reported 600 cases of gender-based violence and almost 30 femicides this year, and Colombia, where five women a day are treated for gender-based violence, according to the Ombudsman’s Office.

Likewise, in Chile, where women played a decisive role in the social protests of 2019, left-wing president Gabriel Boric, who heads the first cabinet with more women than men on the American continent, announced various measures including prioritization of a law which establishes the right to a life free of violence, which is currently being debated in Congress.

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