Today, on International Women’s Day, we must recognize that, despite the progress made in recent years, one of the greatest challenges to the legitimacy and validity of democracy in the Americas comes from social and gender inequalities.
These inequalities limit the potential for development, security and governability in the region.
In order to gain access to political office and influence decision making, the women of the Americas confront a series of challenges: sexist media coverage, gender stereotypes and the gender division of political work. Other pending challenges include the under-representation of women who belong to vulnerable groups, the lack of access to political financing and to the media, and harassment.
As a one of a kind achievement in the world, five of the countries of the Americas – Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and Nicaragua – have adopted parity between men and women in politics. And in the framework of the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Peru, the countries will work together with the OAS Inter-American Commission of Women to consolidate and reaffirm existing commitments to women’s leadership, achieving parity and eliminating barriers to the full exercise of the political rights of women.
Today, more than ever, there is an urgent need to accelerate the elimination of gender inequalities in politics, and to ensure the full exercise of women’s political rights in our democracies.