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Successes and barriers for LBT women's economic empowerment

Intervention by the Permanent Representative of the Argentine Republic, Amb. Martín García Moritán

March 13

Excellences, distinguished guests,

Good afternoon and thank you very much for being here.

Let me begin by expressing my deep appreciation to the government of Canada for hosting us today. This is a true example of their continuous commitment to advance the human rights of LBT women, exploring ways to overcome obstacles for the empowerment of all women.

For Argentina, as co-chair of the LGBT Core Group in New York, it is an honor to be able to cosponsors this event and to present our perspective and experience in relation with the economic empowerment of LBT women.

I would like to start highlighting the challenge that means developing and implementing policies in a field quite unexplored and where there is a general lack of best practices and good experiences to share among governments.

Nonetheless this challenge is also a great opportunity to be creative and to work closely with civil society to identify gaps, problems and possible way forwards.

As a government, the actions aimed at the economic empowerment of LBT women have to be designed taking into two different realities.

First, it is common for LBT workers to face discrimination at work on the basis of their sexual orientation and or gender identity. Moreover, LGBT persons frequently experience discrimination and harassment as school, which hampers their future employment prospects.

Therefore, it is crucial, that the government adopts and implements wide-ranging measures to address violence and discrimination against LGBTI people in the educational system. We need to work hard to grant them the right to a quality education and to reduce the disturbing level of drop-out of schools among LGBTI youth.

In fact, it is the responsibility of the State to ensure the access and permanence of LGTBI people in the educational system, implementing strategies for the eradication of discrimination and violence. It is imperative to include and discuss age-appropriate concepts related to "sexual diversity" and "gender perspective" in the pedagogical programs at all educational levels.

Second, the governments should design strategies to ensure that LGBTI people, of all ages, have access to decent work. Therefore, we have to create quality income opportunities, integrating actions that promote training, entrepreneurship and the eradication of discrimination in the workplace.

While working with the private sector, governments should explore creative ways to increase job opportunities in the public sector with a more diverse participation. In our case, despite the controversial nature of quotas, some local governments, like the province of Buenos Aires, have developed legislation seeking to grant that a percentage of all new jobs are for trans people.

Those percentages go from one to five percent, depending on the jurisdiction. They tend to solve an urgent problem of access to work of trans people and equal opportunities in a society where until recently they were mostly rejected from the formal economy.

In parallel, the national Ministries of Labor and Education have signed agreements with civil society organization and private sector to develop workshops and training opportunities for trans people. Such experiences have been taking place in different cities around the country (Bahía Blanca, Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata, Rosario, Cordoba).

We are still exploring different alternatives to empower economically LBT women, and in particular trans women who were historically in a more vulnerable situation.

In order to achieve this, we consider that it is crucial to have full commitment and leadership in the fight against homophobia and transphobia. The role of high level officials in that sense is irreplaceable.

There has undoubtedly been progress in recognizing the human rights –including labour rights– of LGBT persons. A solid legal framework has obvious benefits but we need to be more vocal on what really mean leaving no one behind. And there is nothing more concrete to show than real policies reaching out those who have been usually forgotten.

Thank you very much.

Fondo argentino de cooperación sur-sur y triangular