(New York, October 13, 2005)
Statement by Ambassador María Angela Holguín, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations, Item 64: Advancement of Women
I would like to express our gratitude for chairing the work of the Committee today. We support the statements made by Jamaica on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and Uruguay on behalf of Mercosur and associated countries.
I want to begin my statement by reaffirming the commitment of Colombia to the Declaration and the Platform of Action of Beijing and the final documents of the 23rd extraordinary period of sessions of the General Assembly. Colombia has had significant achievements and yet still has challenges ahead regarding the advancement of women.
In Colombia, women benefit from an even access to basic middle and high education, they show a lower rate of school drop-out's and a better academic performance in relation to men. Women have massively entered the labor market and increased their participation in the decision-making processes of the nation from many of the most important posts within the public administration. They are heads of five ministries among thirteen, president of Congress and vicepresident of the House of Representatives.
The seven tools of our global public policy on gender equality which are the education revolution; the extension and improvement of protection and social security; the promotion of an economy of solidarity; a social management of rural economy; a social management of public services; a country of entrepreneurs; and quality of urban life; have already been reflected in our implementation policies. I am referring to the social reactivation policy, the health policy, the sexual and reproductive health policy and "women as builders of peace and development".
The women as builders of peace and development policy has focused on four main areas of intervention: a) employment and entrepreneurial development; b) political participation; c) violence against women and d) institutional strengthening. Each areas includes the promotion and coordination of programs and strategies oriented towards income generation and employment for women, strengthening of their enterprises through access to small loans, training and broadening of marketing options for their products, as well as the promotion of political participation and the prevention of violence against women.
The national legislation guarantees equal opportunities for women in society. The Government created the Gender Issues Observatory to monitor gender issues. Likewise, Colombia ratified the Optional protocol of the CEDAW.
The recovery of the rural sector in Colombia is a priority for the government. The government has carried out a plan of action to ensure equal opportunities for rural women in order to contribute to the reduction of political, social, economic and cultural barriers which keep our rural women from their full participation in our economy, social development and the complete exercise of their rights.
Our ministry of agriculture created a promotion fund for rural women to support this plan of action, whose main objective is to focus on training rural women in order for them to access and fully use the available policy tools. There is another project on rural women's entrepreneurship supported by ten universities which offer counseling on how to design business plans and become successful entrepreneurs.
As shown from the statement above, Colombia reaffirms its commitment with gender equality through strategies which have allowed Colombian women to actively participate at the national and international level. We have acknowledged the achievements, however we do not deny that we still have ahead many challenges and difficulties to overcome in the goal of advancing the status of women in my country.