Our Perspective

      • Beyond the street protests: Youth, women and democracy in Latin America | Jessica Faieta

        28 Apr 2014

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        Young Latin Americans have been taking to the streets, playing a central role in recent protests in countries like Brazil, Chile (pictured), Peru and Mexico. Photo: Pamela Sepulveda/IPS

        Women’s empowerment and political participation are not only crucial for women: they are essential for effective democratic governance, one which promotes human rights and equity.  The same can be said about the importance of boosting youth political participation. The U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) invited three young women parliamentarians from Latin America and the Caribbean to join a recent discussion in Salamanca, Spain, on young women’s political participation in the region. That’s what Paola Pabón from Ecuador, Silvia Alejandrina Castro from El Salvador and Gabriela Montaño from Bolivia have in common. They are among the very few women in parliaments and they are young: They broke a double glass ceiling. Of the 600 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean, more than 26 percent are young, aged 15-29. This is a unique opportunity for the region’s development and for its present and future governance. Even though the average regional rate of women taking up positions in parliament is 25 percent, higher than the global average, a closer look shows that women still lag behind. Our recent survey of 25 parliaments in Latin America and the Caribbean shows a very low representation of youth in the region’s parliaments – especially those of African or indigenous descent. Only 2.7 percentRead More

      • Working together to find solutions to insecurity | Pablo Ruiz Hiebra

        17 Apr 2014

        In recent years, public outcry for improved citizen security has led to the introduction of quick, high-visibility solutions to address the problem – solutions such as putting the army in the streets or drafting hasty penal reforms. Unfortunately, results from such initiatives tend to be more questionable than their initial popularity. In light of this, some countries (namely Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, or the Dominican Republic) are attempting to come up with more comprehensive, wide-ranging solutions – solutions combining better coercive capacity of the State with real efforts geared towards the prevention of violence. These countries have succeeded in implementing comprehensive public policies for citizen security, introducing short-term, medium-term and long-term initiatives. Over the last few years, UNDP has supported the development and assessment of such initiatives as one of its priority areas, placing special emphasis on human rights and the fight to end gender-based violence.  I think it would be useful to examine two processes of citizen participation that can serve as a reference for the rest of the region: In Brazil, the call for the first Conference on Public Safety (CONSEG) marked a historic turning point, as municipalities, states, security experts, social bodies and government agencies responsible for citizenRead More

      • Toward a proposal for shared parenthood │Carina Lupica

        15 Apr 2014

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        JULIO LIMPIAS MANAGES TWO JOBS: TAKING CARE OF HIS CHILD AND HEADING AN ECO-FRIENDLY BUSINESS IN BOLIVIA. PHOTO: UNDP BOLIVIA

        In the past decade in Latin America and the Caribbean, around 22.8 million women joined the labour market. This advancement has contributed to a labour force today with more than 100 million women. Nevertheless, their labour-force contribution in urban areas (52.6 percent) is still lower than that of men (79.6 percent), and women are still working in low-quality jobs, with negative consequences on their income level and their potential for development. Housework and family care that women still fundamentally provide help explain this. Two main principles underlie the resistance to re-organizing the time men and women dedicate to working in the market and in households. First, men are strongly identified with paid work and women with reproductive work. Second, due to the traditional organization of productive work, there are obstacles to men’s greater commitment to caretaking. Labour laws in the region were established for male workers in an industrial sector working full-time and who are responsible for the family’s financial support; they do not indicate conciliation provisions because they do not consider men responsible for housework and caretaking. The main advancement in labour legislation in the region promoting shared caretaking has been the recognition of the father's right to participate inRead More