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Development Account Projects

Capacity-building of national machineries for governance with the gender perspective in Latin America and the Caribbean

Background:

The Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, called upon Governments, among others, to transform national machineries into central policy coordinating units to support gender mainstreaming in all government policies and programmes and reaffirmed in the Political Declaration,

The structural changes ushered in by globalization in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean over the last decade enabled increasing numbers of women of varying educational levels to enter the labour market and obtain access to social services. However, these advances have only served to highlight the gender gap in the quality of benefits obtained as well as the sharp inequalities that persist at the level of decision-making and socio-political empowerment, and, in the way family life is reconciled with the demands of citizenship and with opportunities for women to develop their own capacities.

The project aims to develop and support initiatives aimed at removing political and electoral obstacles that limit women's full participation in decision-making; support and improve initiatives addressing the need for gender sensitive institutions at the local level within the context of decentralization processes; and develop and improve the capacity for advocacy and policy-making of national machineries within the context of state reform and governance of selected countries.

Objective:

To strengthen the capacity of the national machineries for the advancement of women to integrate the demands and needs of women in the national agendas for good governance and state reform.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Establishment of a network of national machineries for the dissemination of information and experiences;
  • Enhanced capacity of existing national machineries, in compliance with the recommendations of the Beijing Platform for Action;
  • Increased participation of women in policy-making bodies through career development programme and training in decision-making, leadership, governance and state reform;
  • Strengthened support mechanism for women’s organizations and networks and their work in civil society.

Effects and Impact:

The project has fulfilled its objectives and achieved impacts in the two following areas: Primarily, it enabled the creation and the progressive strengthening of regional and national machineries focusing on gender issues. and moreover; it generated an impulse in the region for developing new actions and practices in favor of women participation at the legislative, normative and institutional levels.

At the national level, the following specific impacts may be highlighted: In Ecuador, the Government introduced a gender perspective in its poverty eradication program (Bono de Desarrollo Humano) which links the political dimension of poverty to women’s empowerment and incorporates measures to limit the negative impact of the programme on their time-use; In Brazil and Paraguay, national machineries focusing on gender issues whose very existence were actually threatened during periods of governmental change prior to the project, have been strengthened through the establishment of strategic partnerships with other civil society organizations and bolstering their medium and long-term sustainability.

In Brazil alone, the contents of the national study on poverty were included in the official call for the organization of a first National Conference for Women; in Paraguay, significant progress was achieved when the Secretariat for Women was able to publicly release the results of its actions to civil society; in Honduras, the National Institute for Women introduced legislative changes to the electoral system that are favorable to the political participation and representation of women; in Mexico, a gender perspective is at the centre of the survey on democratic culture which is carried out on a regular basis by the Federal Electoral Institute; and in Bolivia, the Electoral Court and the women’s organizations adopted common proposals to be presented at the future Constitutional Assembly.