With participants from various parts of the region, the webinar began with a brief introduction to the theme and panelists which was followed by a 15 minutes’ presentation from each speaker. In the meanwhile, attendees submitted their questions which were answered in the latter part of the webinar.
In the first presentation, Anderson addressed the issue of women’s status in access to rights. She emphasized the role of social structures that blocked and would enable women to fully enjoy fundamental rights, and that a social inclusion approach from a rights perspectives was primarily related to an ethical dimension - injustice and inequality in society and the economy were major obstacles that prohibited a fair distribution of resources. Over the course of the history of social exclusion, women have become more vulnerable to social and economic inequality.
Anderson explained that women’s status has been rising steadily compared to the past. Not only have studies on gender become more diverse but have also become more popular. Despite such progress, there are remaining gaps and obstacles that generated gender inequality, especially in the legal framework in the region. Such inequality was highlighted in three aspects: in the coverage of sexual and reproductive rights, diversity approach, and the classification of some forms of violence against women, such as those exercised by the State. Moreover, she stated that inequality and discrimination against women in education and employment was a severe problem as women are a big portion of the informal economy and their care work is unpaid.
The next presentation, carried out by Muñoz-Pogossian, also addressed the challenges that women face in fully enjoying political rights and social, economic and cultural rights with comparative data. While she agreed with Anderson that there has been a major advance in women’s rights especially in Latin America, she remarked that there are persisting obstacles to women’s full enjoyment of rights in accessing education, paid employment, health and other social services. What was underlined in particular was the status of women in the labor market – more than 14 million women in the region are working mothers, leading to an average of more working hours. Also, while an increasing number of women are receiving secondary and tertiary education, much less is being achieved in the market by women due to a factor that Muñoz-Pogossian refers to as “invisibility.”
Some goals were presented by Muñoz-Pogossian with regards to such inequalities – to prioritize the conciliation between work and family by redistributing care work among key actors such as the State, market and family by which a paradigm that put pressure on women can change and such pressure can be transferred to the market and State. A normative change would also be important as already evidenced in the region through signing Convention 156 of ILO, adopting legislation for paternity leave, and approving the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities among others.