Labor rights for Latin American women

In Latin America, the Group of Parliamentarian Women from the network of legislatures on the continent (Parlaméricas) meet in Ecuador to discuss the policies and laws necessary to ensure the labor rights of women:

According to the Mexican Senator and also president of Parlaméricas, Marcela Guerra, the meeting will be used to review the national progress achieved in implementing the plan of action to prevent harassment and political violence against women, agreed last year in Argentina.

In addition, she stated that an axes of this strategy is the implementation of multi-sectoral approaches for the prevention of political harassment against women, the inclusion of men in the struggle for political empowerment of women, and to make political parties responsible for gender equality, among others. She also announced the sharing of experiences and legislative progress in encouraging the representation of women in parliaments in the region.

Major setback for female representation in Brazil

Marina Koren writes in the Atlantic about the exclusion of women from Cabinet as conservative Michel Temer takes over as interim President in Brazil:

Temer is the interim president of Brazil, put in office as the country’s legislature decides whether to impeach Rousseff, the leader of the center-left Workers Party (PT).

In his first days in the presidency, Temer has vowed to fight corruption and introduced measures to reduce the fiscal deficit as Brazil faces its worst recession in decades. He has also named a new cabinet of ministers that has attracted a lot of attention for what it’s missing: women.

All the ministers in the cabinet are men who identify as white, making Temer the first president since Ernesto Geisel, who served from 1974 to 1979, not to include women.

The reshuffling has cut the number of cabinet posts from 31 to 22, and unseated four female cabinet ministers, one of whom was the only Afro-Brazilian minister in the government, according to the AP.

But for supporters of PT, whose policies have for years promoted social justice and racial equality, Temer’s decision is troubling. The cabinet’s composition has raised concerns the new president seeks to make Brazil more conservative. His decision to eliminate the ministry of women, racial equality, and human rights and consolidate it into the justice ministry, as well as to merge the culture ministry into the education ministry, has only compounded their fears.

Temer’s critics point out his new cabinet is not representative of Brazil’s population, which is 51 percent female. But it is does mirror the makeup of the country’s congress, which has been about 90 percent male since 2003, and more than that in the years before. For advocates of women’s rights around the world, the new cabinet is a step backward, especially as it comes after Rousseff, before her precipitous decline, became Brazil’s first female president in 2010.


Indigenous women in Latin America

Indigenous people and women's representation in Latin America.

The indigenous rights movement has made significant strides in Latin America over the last few decades, but indigenous women across the continent remain sorely underrepresented in political decision-making.
Indigenous activists brought this problem into the spotlight during the First Congress of Indigenous Parliamentarians of America (IPA) held in Panama last week, calling for continued progress in the representation of indigenous women in politics.
The congress, organized by the IPA and the United Nations Development Program, had representatives from 18 countries across the continent, including Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, Paraguay and Venezuela.
Nicaraguan parliamentarian Evelyn Patricia was one of the spokeswoman who highlighted the underrepresentation of women in political spheres. Nicaragua is among the top 10 nations in the world for having the highest female representation in parliament, along with the Latin American countries Mexico, Ecuador and Bolivia, which leads the region in female parliamentary representation.
In spite of the nation’s progress, Patricia said to Spanish news agency Efe, women need to continue to make progress if they are to see true political parity.
“Before, women were seen as objects, not as thinking beings,” she said. “Now, we have equal rights and opportunities, and must change our roles [in society].”
Many women in Latin America face discrimination when it comes to maintaining even basic human rights. This discrimination is even more of an obstacle for indigenous women, and still more magnified for indigenous women who are poor, creating what some have called the threat of “triple discrimination.”