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OAS Permanent Council Celebrates International Day of Women and Day of Francophonie

  March 7, 2012

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today welcomed the International Day of Women and the Day of Francophonie, Turing an ordinary meeting held at the Organization’s headquarters in Washington, DC.

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza highlighted the advances achieved in the rights of women in the 100 years passed since the day was first celebrated on March 8. “Nowadays gender equality is acknowledged not only as a human right and a development goal, but as a smart economic policy,” he said.

Nevertheless, the head of the Hemispheric Organization warned that many issues remain to be solved. “Women still access the labor market in a condition of disadvantage, unprotected, in unstable situations, lacking social security and with low income,” he said. Therefore, he reiterated his call on countries to “upheld and even strengthen” their commitment to gender equality.

The Mission of the United States to the OAS, which requested the inclusion of the topic in the Council’s agenda, mentioned that “day in and day out the women of our Hemisphere are working to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.” “Empowering women results in stronger economies, more healthy and vibrant societies and greater peace and stability,” added Margarita Rivas, Alternate Representative of the North American country to the OAS.

Also supportive of the celebration were the representatives of Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Canada, Panama and Barbados.

The Permanent Council, currently chaired by Haiti, also welcomed the celebration next March 20 of the Day of Francophonie and hosted the President of the Cultural Festival of the Francophonie in Washington, DC, Bernard Greenen.

Greenen emphasized that 56 countries and 220 million people around the world belong to the “Francophonie,” and said that the celebrations seeks to “promote the French language, cultural diversity, spread peace, democracy and human rights, education, research and cooperation for a sustainable development.”

Also took the floor to welcome the celebration of the French culture and language the delegations of Canada, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Argentina, Mexico, Saint Lucia, Dominica and the Permanent Observer of France to the OAS.

A gallery of photos of the event will be available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-082/12