Press Release

IACHR Presents Report on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Women

December 19, 2011

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) today published the Report The Labor, Education and Resources of Women: The Road to Equality in Guaranteeing Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The IACHR has observed that, where economic, social and cultural rights are concerned, the discrimination against women continues to be evident in the job market, in women’s limited access to social security, in the high rates of illiteracy among women and girls by comparison to men, in the extreme poverty and social exclusion which affects women, and in the scant opportunities of political participation for indigenous and Afro-descendent women, among other relevant issues.

A basic premise of this report is that discrimination against women is still engrained in the structural inequalities and inequities between men and women in the countries of this hemisphere. These problems are still pervasive in all social sectors, including the economy, education, labor, health, justice and decision-making. In many parts of the region, women have less means than men to satisfy basic needs like food, access to housing and to the specialized health services they require; they are particularly vulnerable to physical and sexual violence; and have limited options when it comes to finding decent work and having a voice in shaping public affairs in their countries. In regional and international venues, the OAS member states have themselves acknowledged how poverty, in all its manifestations, takes a particularly heavy toll on women and how women’s disadvantaged access to economic resources continues to be an obstacle to promoting and protecting all their human rights.

The Commission has identified three areas where women experience discrimination when exercising their economic, social and cultural rights that are particularly acute: work, education, and access to and control of economic resources. The guarantee of these rights has a multiplying effect on all other rights of women. The Commission believes that an initial examination of the problem of discrimination, approached from these three perspectives, can open the door to a more comprehensive analysis by the inter-American system, one that probes those factors that still pose an obstacle to women’s exercise of their economic, social and cultural rights.

The recommendations contained in this report concern the design of state interventions and measures to ensure that women are able to exercise their right to work, their right to education, and their right to access to and control over economic resources, in conditions of equality and free from any form of discrimination.

The elaboration of this report is the result of a process of compilation and analysis of information made possible by the financial support of the Government of Spain.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States(OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.


No. 130/11