As newly appointed Representative for Women’s Issues of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, it is my pleasure to participate for the first time in the CSW.
The policies towards the advancement of women and the upholding of their rights are a priority in the domestic and international agenda of my country, a priority that is framed in the respect for human rights, freedom, democracy and social solidarity.
At 15 years from Beijing we have achieved a lot regarding the respect and promotion of the rights of women, and we are continuously confronted by new challenges linked to the need to empower women so that they can be actors in the development processes in their countries. In that regard, issues related to the access of women to education, science, technology and their connection to full employment is fundamental.
Argentina is specifically committed to the principle of access to decent work, understood as a means for subsistence, but more importantly as an indispensable bridge towards social inclusion and self-respect. That is why we have included the achievement of decent work as an additional Millennium Development Goal (MDG).
In the last few years, our country has strongly promoted the enhancement of its scientific and technological sector, through, among others, the creation of a Ministry, budget increments towards science and technical issues and the expansion of the investigation units in all universities, with a special emphasis in productive innovation.
The strengthening of the scientific-technological sector also includes the reconstruction of technical education. With this objective, we are granting scholarships for technical and graduate programs on science — 47% of which have been obtained by women —. Women´s presence in education has lately increased.
The challenge consists in having the educational achievements translated in terms of income and access to decision making posts. Also, we still have cultural factors that continue to generate horizontal segregation in the work market.
Argentina considers education an unrenounceable right and a fundamental tool for women’s empowerment and autonomy. Our Education Law guarantees universal and free education for all inhabitants, a Program of National Sexual Education that aims at guaranteeing the right of girls, boys and teenagers to receive integral sexual education in all educational institutions — public or private — and the Law for the Protection of the Rights of Girls, Boys and Teenagers, that speaks out their rights not to be subject to violence, discrimination, any kind of exploitation or degrading treatment.
Through several measures, we have worked towards the access and permanence of girls, boys and teenagers in the different educational levels. The most relevant of these measures being: The Universal Allowance per Child that aims to the entry and continuity of all under 18 in the educational system by establishing education and vaccination as requirements for granting state assistance with a view to alleviate the situation of low-income or unemployed families; and the “Connecting Equality” plan that aims to the reduction of the technological gap through the provision, in the period 2010 – 2012, of a total of 3.000.000 notebooks to secondary state schools students.
Argentina believes that the possibility of exercising and demanding rights can only be practiced when life is free of all violence and that is why we have adhered to the Secretary-General’s campaign and put in place several national campaigns against gender based violence. We also have an office that depends of the Supreme Court to assist victims which works 24/7 and within the National Council of Women we have created a specific coordination unit for the prevention assistance and eradication of violence against women. We have also adopted two laws of utmost importance: Law against Human Trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation (2008) and the Integral Protection Law to prevent, prosecute and eradicate violence against women (2009).
We reiterate our willingness to work so that this session of the Commission achieves its proposed objectives and we trust that the agreements that we have reached will serve as a guide for the actions that we must implement in our countries.
I thank you very much.
Misión Permanente Argentina ante las Naciones Unidas