Media Center

Press Release


  November 27, 2006

Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Labor, Public Administration and Empowerment, Jacqui Quinn-Leandro, has begun a two-year term as President of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), following her election by the member country delegations of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Minister Quinn-Leandro, whose government portfolio includes gender affairs, was elected this month during the Inter-American Commission’s 33rd Assembly of Delegates in San Salvador, El Salvador. In remarks to the delegates from around the Americas, she described her election as “a vote of confidence for every girl in Antigua and Barbuda and in capitals around the Caribbean region and indeed the hemisphere as a whole – by signaling to them that as women we can achieve.”

Meanwhile, the CIM Assembly elected Colombia’s Martha Lucía Vázquez as Vice President and voted in the following members of the Executive Committee: Nilcéa Freire of Brazil; María Gabriela Nuñéz of Guatemala; Marie Laurence Lassegue of Haiti; Virginia Borra Toledo of Peru; and Carmen Beramendi of Uruguay.

Surveying how the hemispheric agency has evolved, the new CIM President noted that it was established to champion women’s civil and political rights. Today, some 78 years later, she added, “Women from across the length and breadth of Latin America and the Caribbean now have political rights. They can vote and they can run for the highest offices in government.” She warned, however, that “even though we have made significant strides in women’s representation, there is still discrimination against women where these rights are concerned.”

Democracy without gender equity is “half-baked” democracy, said Dr. Quinn-Leandro, quoting remarks by OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza to the CIM inauguration. She added: “Since women make up more than half of the world population, democracy without gender equity is not yet in the oven.”

Quinn-Leandro expressed appreciation for her election, describing service in this sense as “a higher calling to the international community to advance and promote equal rights for women not only in Antigua and Barbuda, but everywhere in the Americas.” She pledged to devote all her “experience, skills, talents and God-given abilities to serving with distinction and to advancing the objectives of this noble organization.”

In Washington, Ambassador Deborah-Mae Lovell, the Antigua and Barbuda Permanent Representative to the OAS, declared she is “extremely pleased at the outcome of the election.” Lovell went on to note: “The CARICOM countries had a strong candidate in the person of the Hon. Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro who, we are confident, will advance the cause of women throughout the hemisphere.”

Reference: E-254/06