H.E. Lic. Maria Fernanda Flores de Aleman
Coordinator of the Social Cabinet and
First Lady of the Republic
During the General Debate of
The Twenty-third special session of the United Nations
General Assembly entitled:
"Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and
Peace for the Twenty first Century"
(Check against delivery)
NewYork, June 8, 2000
women 2000: Gender Equality: Development and Peace
for the Twenty First Century"
I feel very honored to be in this forum that represents the commitment of the nations of the world to humanity's most noble causes.
Since the beginning of this organization, established more than a half century ago, it was declare for the first time in collective form, the recognition of the fundamental rights of human beings, their dignity and the human being, as well as the equality of those rights for men and women, no matter whether they belong to large or small nations.
Under over of this magnificent tradition, we meet anew in this important forum, for the purpose of continuing to work in order that the equality of women that constitute half of the word population, becomes a reality
Ever since the IV World Women's Conference, Nicaragua has joined with other nations on a now paths, of greater efforts to advance the cause of women. In this spirit we take up the challenge today of gender equality, development and peace for the XXI Century, proposed in this five-year review of the Platform of Action.
Equality between genders is the logical consequence of the "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family", as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and this is really the foundation of liberty, justice and peace.
Equal dignity and rights should result in the equality of opportunities for all, and surely this is parameter of human liberty, without which the Rule of Law and true democracy, that requires the participation of all, cannot exist.
We understand and look forward to the full participation of women, as the liberty that every women should have to choose her decisions to participate in the entire range of professions an actions, and in every arena of society, without diminishing any of her decision to her efforts to attain personal progress and contribute to the social, economical and political development.
Conscious of all the above and recognizing that the Platform for Action is considered an instrument for the furtherance and empowerment of women, the Nicaraguan State, due to its limited resources, has given priority to six of the twelve critical areas f concern: Our areas of priority are eradication of poverty, education, health, elimination of violence, institutional mechanisms and the girl child.
We are working arduously to combat the feminization of poverty. Mechanisms, plans and programs have been enforced to seek women's effective access, in equal conditions, to the means of production. Nicaragua recognizes in its Constitution their
right to obtain land titles and protects theirs rights to " equal pay for equal work in identical conditions", in the Constitution.
By strengthening the institutions that regulate and stimulate small and mediumsize businesses, it is important to offer support throughout the country, women's access credit, accompanied by the training to provide skills. In this effort, priority has been given to rural women.
In the area of education, there is a special effort, since we recognize that all real changes in the social structure of a country begin with education. Education is the precondition for the beginning of sustainable development. Through its educational policy, Nicaragua established access to education and formation, within the measure of its possibilities, for all girls and women, for their subsequent participation in the process of social, economic and political development. Priority has been given to women in the elimination of illiteracy and gender perspective is an axis through all the academic curriculum and public education.
The matter of health, which affects women in particular, has been attended to systematically through what is known in Nicaragua as, the IV Health Policy. It consideres the different needs of the sexes throughout the cycle.
As a result of attention to the integral health of women, primary outpatient care today reaches 82% of the female population.
The promotion of nursing mothers and the prolonged efforts under the government's policy contributed to the recent passing of the Maternal Nursing Law, which protects mothers and infants during the period of nursing, guaranteeing the conditions and the required time for this event even during working hours. In addition, children and nursing mothers are protected by a Nutrition Policy.
There is a network of " base houses" run by women, where care is offered regarding sexual and reproductive health, information and access to family planning is provided along.
There is also a hospital for elderly women.
Concerning violence, Nicaragua has worked diligently in the formulation of policies towards the gradual eradication of domestic violence, with a special attention to women, adolescents and children who are victims of this painful problem. A National Plan Against Violence is being put forth, which will orient inter-sectoral actions, with the participation of civil society and Government.
The Government of Nicaragua, represented by the Ministry of the Family is the entity in charge, that working through the Nicaraguan Institute of the Woman is in charge of the advancement of women, and has developed actions directed to sensitizing and training women leaders in the different political parties, the formation of multipliers of policies workshops on leadership and personal effciency in the subject of violence, the application of the Code on Children and Adolescents, the availability of alternative credit and the promotion of the possibilities of women in general, among other things.
The Children, which is the promise for our tomorrow, is today our most vulnerable population. Nicaragua protects the lives of girls and boys from the moment of conception, without any discrimination whatsoever, and with a vision towards a more just world, where and equality of opportunities will exist for both from the earliest age.
Nicaragua has taken firm steps to recognize and protect the rights of girls and boys. It has signed and ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is included in our Constitutional. In 1998, the Code for Children and Adolescents was approved, and since them, multiple policies, actions and mechanisms has been developed to provide follow-through to this important legal instrument.
The attitudes that propitiate equality, development and peace begin with the values learned within the family. The World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, referring the children's rights, correctly emphasizes that " the full and harmonious development of girl's and boy's personalities require that they grow up within family, which, therefore deserves greater protection".
We cannot separate woman from the family. Nicaragua has a Ministry of the Family to coordinate the actions that protect and strengthen the fundamental nucleus of society. Efforts are being made in this way to also fulfill that which has been indicated through the Platform for Action of 1995, regarding the recognition of women's contribution to family well-being, the social meaning of maternity and the role that parents play in the formation of their daughters and sons. It is a concern of the Nicaraguan State to strengthen family for the good of all society.
We look forward to continue all these efforts with optimism and enthusiasm. The desire of the government of President Arnoldo Aleman is to continue working on behalf of women, with an integral vision of their welfare that embraces all dimensions of theirs lives and all their relationships, in the private and public arenas.
Thank you very much
Maria Fernanda Flores de Aleman
First Lady Of Nation