SEMlac reports

SEMlac reports (323)

 By Norma Loto

Buenos Aires, June (SEMlac). – The streets of Argentina were taken by
 #NiUnaMenos last June 3. The massively attended march included relatives and
 friends of murdered women and girls.

 Nine years have elapsed since the daughter of Gumersinda Giménez was killed
 by a gendarme.

 Judith (16) was at the time studying at La Banderita School in Buenos Aires.
 “I am now being trained as a social worker. That was what she was planning
 to become,” Giménez told SEMlac.

 “My son Eduardo, who has given me two beautiful grandchildren, always tells
 me that Judith is looking after us,” she added.

 The situation in the country seems to get steadily worse. The Adriana M.
 Zambrano Observatory recently announced that there have been 275 women
 murders, including 171 in their houses, in the last 12 months.

 Three 12-year-old girls have just been killed.

 The father of Carolina Aló, a young girl who was stabbed to death in 1996,
 participated in the demonstration to demand change.

 Also on hand were family and friends of Chiara Paez, a 14-year-old girl who
 was beaten to death by her boyfriend, and of Bárbara C. Toledo, who was 20,
 had a daughter of two, and was pregnant again when her partner smothered her
 in 2015.

 There were no speakers at the march this time, but the organizers developed
 a document that was widely circulated, highlighting the need to mainstream
 the gender approach into public policies, further train relevant officials,
 allocate adequate budgets, establish victim shelters, and adopt effective
 prevention and control measures.

 Emphasis was also made on fighting male-chauvinistic violence against
 heterosexual women, lesbians, gays, transvestites, and transgender people.

 Women murders

 The murders reported by the Observatory include a baby girl, 11 girls aged
 two to 12, 29 adolescents aged 13 to 18, and nine older women.

 A total of 66 were shot to death; 57 were stabbed; 40 were beaten to death;
 21 were strangled; and 20 were burned.

 Thirty-nine of these victims had submitted their cases to court.
 The provinces with the highest number of women murders include Buenos Aires
 (102), Santa Fe (23), Salta (21), Córdoba (20), City of Buenos Aires (13),
 Santiago del Estero (11), and Mendoza (10).

 Andrea Aramayo in #NiUnaMenos

 Solidarity was also expressed with migrant women in Argentina, including
 Claudia A. Aramayo, the daughter of Helen Álvarez, our colleague in
 Bolivia.

 Claudia was killed on August 19, 2015. Lilia Camacho, a Bolivian reporter in
 Argentina and a friend of Álvarez, decided to include Claudia’s name on
 #NiUnaMenos and take her case to court.

 She told me at the march that male-chauvinism knows no frontiers and that
 justice should be done not only in Bolivia, but also in the entire region.

 Helen’s feminist activism is now being developed at Mujeres Creando
(Creative Women) NGO.

By Sara Lovera

Mexico, April (SEMlac). – Women face risks at home and school, and
 administrative/criminal proceedings are usually cumbersome for victims.

 Two administrative proceedings were undertaken by students and professors at
 the Autonomous University of Mexico City (UACM) in 2013. The cases were
 taken by law experts at the same university, and the final decision was to
 fire the abusers.

 One of them, Enrique González, filed suit at the Conciliation and
 Arbitration Board and is likely to be back to work, despite the opposition
 of most faculty members.

 Jurist Medina regretted that some human-rights specialists do not seem to
 recognize that sexual harassment is extremely serious.

 The university rector has implemented no damage reparation action and has
 instead allowed the professor in question in.

 Harassers everywhere

 “Martha” reported her case to the Office of the Government Attorney in
 October 2014, shortly after she was raped by a colleague at the UNAM
 Institute of Nuclear Sciences.

 The rapist was Víctor H. Flores, a post-graduate student. After 15 months of
 litigation, he had a committal order issued against him.

 Last January 10, Martha learnt that the Honor and Justice Commission had
 decided not to impose any sanction on Flores, because the event had occurred
 outside the institute’s premises.

 Another case

 Last April 10, a press release by the Office on Human Rights, Crime
 Prevention and Community Services indicated that a former UNAM employee had
 been sentenced to nine years in prison for having sexually abused an
 administrative assistant at the city council.

 Explosive data

 Around 600,000 sexual crimes are committed every year in Mexico, according
 to a report of the Executive Commission on Victims Care (CEAV).

 Over 2.9 million crimes of such a nature were committed in the 2010-2015
 period alone, it also revealed.

 Out of 20,000 reports, 5,000 have involved students.

 Only at UNAM, 49.3 percent of students (34,000) said they have endured some
 form of harassment at the university, according to a survey conducted by the
 Gender Equity Program (PUEG).

 Protocols

 A research work by Arturo Ilizaliturri showed that UNAM and the University
 of Guanajuato have draft protocols under review and approval, while UACM has
 a procedure already in place.

 No major private university has an appropriate protocol under
 implementation, while some others have rules and regulations that stipulate
 that sexual harassment is considered an offense against discipline.

 In 2014, the Institute of Technology in Monterrey developed a procedure to
 deal with sexual harassment situations, but local authorities told
 Ilizaliturri that it is no longer being implemented.

 The rules at the Pan American and Iberian American universities impose
 sanctions on sexual harassers, but those at Anáhuac do not even mention the
 issue.

 At the other end of the spectrum, the Autonomous University of Guadalajara,
 which is privately owned and Christian, expressly bans women from wearing
 transparent blouses and short skirts.

 According to the General Law on Women’s Access to Violence-Free Settings,
 educational centers should formulate and implement programs for the early
 detection of acts of violence against women. However, this law has for 11
 years been dead letter at higher education facilities.

Mexico, April (SEMlac Special). – Universities and other higher education
 facilities have become really dangerous places for women (both professors
 and students). For example, 49.3 percent of women students at the National
 Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have endured gender violence.

 The Executive Commission on Victims Care (CEAV) indicated that, out of
 600,000 sexual- crime cases, only 20,000 are actually taken to court.

 Despite decades-old gender studies, abusers still go unpunished, no
 victim-care protocols are under implementation, and no effective solutions
 are devised.

 A journalistic research by SEMlac has shown that indifference is now being
 compounded by the efforts of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to
 take abusers back to work, including professor Enrique González.

 After a long process, a rapist at UNAM has, for the first time ever, been
 sentenced to nine years in prison.

 Private universities make no room for gender analysis. They have no
 appropriate victim care protocols despite a constitutional mandate, a

 federal policy and a law on women’s access to violence-free settings.

 A few weeks ago, González organized a meeting to continue harassing María C.
 Rodríguez and Clementina Correa, who had filed suits against their
 colleague, a “human-rights specialist.”

 According to the UNAM Gender Study Program, which includes surveys and
 analyses, 49.3 percent of women students (34,642) have endured some form of
 violence.

 On the other hand, Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM) professor Mary
 Goldsmith, who has pioneered gender studies in the country, indicated that
 sexual violence is commonplace at campuses.

 Jenny Cooper, a former professor at the School of Economics, believes that
 there are no procedures in place to prevent, deal with and punish sexual
 violence against women (professors and students).

 Five years ago, the National Institute of Women (INMUJERES) had formulated
 formal recommendations to develop protocols from a gender and human-rights
 perspective.


 A research work by Arturo Ilizaliturri, a member of the Latin American
 Network of Young Journalists, revealed that, out of 32 local autonomous
 universities, only four have protocols in place to fight sexual abuse.

 International legal consultant Andrea Medina told SEMlac that these
 instruments should be both clear and specific to avoid legal gaps.

 University rector Hugo Aboites has systematically refused to meet with
 victims.
 González’ case is now at the Conciliation and Arbitration Board, which has
 since 2012 banned harassment by employers and colleagues and has decided to
 dismiss those found guilty.

 Some hope

 “In 2011, UAM-Xochimilco undertook an institutional program that has
 included a plan to prevent violence against women,” said its manager
 Guadalupe Huacuz.

“After several decades of sustained efforts, a network of higher education

institutions has been established to discuss gender violence intervention
and control methods,” stressed jurist Andrea Medina.

The list of universities with protocols under implementation includes the
Autonomous University of Sinaloa and the universities of San Nicolás de

 Hidalgo, Veracruz, and Quintana Roo. The former covers only cases at its
facilities and the latter, only faculty members.

 Out of eight universities, merely one addresses sexual crimes. The others
 just deal with “immoral acts, lacks of respect, hostility situations,
drunkenness, and forgery.”

Buenos Aires, December (SEMlac Special). - A22-year-old woman spends the day sitting on the floor, with her back against the wall at the train station in Pacífico. Before it gets dark, she walks all the way to a State-run shelter to sleep there, if she is lucky enough to find a bed available. When she does not make it, she has to sleep in the open, like many others who are simply thought to be either abnormal or criminal.

Mexico City, December (SEMlac). - Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director and Under Secretary-General, made her first official visit to Mexico on December 4-7. Delivering a speech at the Senate of the Republic, she said that the battle for gender equality will be won only if men and boys are active involved.

Mexico, October (SEMlac). - Women's access to political power has been negatively affected by male-chauvinistic traditions, former presidential candidates believe.

They spoke at a National Forum on Policy Review last October 17 to mark the 61st anniversary of universal suffrage and the beginning of a new election process in the country next year.

Over 5,000 women will be involved in campaigns at nine local governments, 18 congresses and 903 city councils.

According to the National Women's Institute (INMUJERES), 18 states have enacted pieces of legislation for the equal representation of women at national and local levels.

The former presidential candidates who participated in the Forum included Cecilia Soto (Labor Party), Patricia Mercado, (Alternative Social Democratic Party), and Josefina Vázquez (National Action Party).

They highlighted the progress made in citizen perceptions about women's access to power as well as their challenges and opportunities.

They also highlighted the importance of implementing actions with and for women.

Vázquez recalled that she had in the past recreated gender stereotypes herself.

Soto brought to mind that she had been finally excluded from a presidential candidate debate she had been invited to participate.

Mercado underscored the need to build partnerships with other women to succeed in such efforts.

"We have to talk about our differences and move forward in a context of diversity and pluralism," she stressed.

Vázquez emphasized the need for unity to cope with adversity. She recalled that many people had asked questions such as: Is Mexico really prepared to be governed by a woman?

"I have let Chilean President Michelle Bachelet know about this," she added.

"Social networks are playing a fundamental role today; young people are actively participating in election processes; and laws are changing for the better," she stressed.

Lorena Martínez (former governor and current candidate in Aguascalientes) and former alderwomen Nora Arias (Federal District), Bárbara García (Oaxaca), Janette Ovando (Chiapas), Tania V. Rodríguez (Morelos), and Eloína Juárez (State of Mexico) also spoke at the event.

 

Further progress

Participants in a seminar on the equal representation of women and their political leadership last September 4 indicated that gender actions had in the past relied on the good will of government representatives and charity groups.

There are already 18 states advocating equal representation of women in power. Elections will be held next year in Baja California, Campeche, Chiapas, Coahuila, Colima, the Federal District, Mexico, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, and Tabasco.

Morelos and Yucatán still need to harmonize their legislation.

The so-called 60/40 quotas prevail in Aguascalientes, Baja California, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas, and the 70/30 quotas are still observed in Durango, Morelos, Nayarit, Veracruz, Puebla and Yucatán.

 

 

Buenos Aires, October (SEMlac Special).- Information about teenage sexuality continues to be negatively affected by taboos, myths and fears.

One every six women in Argentina has her first baby before she turns 19, according to a report of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Last October 11, the Fund launched a campaign to raise further awareness and highlight the need to provide correct information about teenage pregnancy.

Marina Silberman, UNFPA representative in Argentina, indicated that many girls see their life projects thwarted by violence situations and/or unplanned pregnancies.

"We are thus seeking to promote their right to education, healthcare, dignity and respect," she added.

Out of 700,000 births every year, 114,500 (16 percent) involve mothers aged 15 to 19.

Over 80 percent of teenage girls with no children go to school, while only 25 percent of those who are mothers do so.

Around 3.5 million girls and adolescents aged 10 to 19 make up nine percent of the country's population. "They play a key role in sustainable development," Silberman stressed.

Enrique Berner, head of the Adolescent Care Department at the Cosme Argerich Hospital and president of the FUSA Foundation, told SEMlac that there is an imperative need for parents to engage in a constructive dialogue with their children so that they can make sound decisions over sex.

Local actress Catherine Fulop stressed that most children are afraid of being judged rather than supported by their parents.

"TV shows do not convey appropriate messages; they fail to promote sex education at home and at school," she regretted.

Law No. 26.150 establishes Comprehensive Sexuality Education, but the lack of information for young people remains.

 

Some data

. Latin America and the Caribbean exhibit the second highest proportion of teenage mothers in the world.

. Four every 10 teenage mothers in Argentina get pregnant over their first sexual relation.

. Around 3,000 births in the country involve girls aged 10 to 13.

. Some 70 percent of teenage mothers do not plan their pregnancies.

 

 

Mexico, September (SEMlac).- Local women's organizations will prepare a Beijing+20 alternative report to review the progress made and the setbacks identified in government policies under the Program of Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women, which was held in China in 1995.

The methodology to be used for the document was agreed upon earlier this month in the Federal District. The meeting was attended by over 70 women from 22 states.

They now plan to address specific problems they are currently facing in reports that will be incorporated into the final document, which is expected to be completed by next December.

They will go over government actions in the last 20 years, including public policies for women's equality and against violence and discrimination, as established in the Beijing Platform for Action.

"The idea is to come up with a document that will make country realities visible," said Lourdes García, head of Ciudadanía en Movimiento (Citizens in Action).

"We plan to develop a post-2015 agenda for women, covering their approaches

to problem-solving, the dissemination of relevant information and the promotion of feminist cadres," stressed Magdalena García, a specialist at the Bufete de Estudios Interdisciplinarios (Interdisciplinary Study Center).

 

Context

Representatives of 189 States and 30,000 activists from all over the world attended the Beijing Conference.

Government delegations and women's organizations reached major agreements after two-week discussions, including the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which sought to promote women's equality and empowerment.

The Platform included 12 main areas: women and poverty, women's education and training, women and health, violence against women, women and armed conflicts, women and economics, women in the exercise of power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, women's human rights, women and the media, women and the environment, and girls.

The Beijing+5 review was made at the United Nations headquarters in June 2000. Around 1,000 NGOs gathered together with government representatives of 148 countries to discuss the progress made and adopt new measures to speed up the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

The subsequent five-year reviews have consistently asked States to honor commitments, but no country has so far met the Program in full, especially in connection with gender violence and sexual and reproductive rights.

Next March, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will examine and evaluate the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform in the last 20 years.

 

Alternative views

The Mexican government has already prepared its report, and local feminists will soon conduct an assessment of it, including both advances and setbacks.

"We will identify good practices on the basis of UN strategic objectives and indicators," García told SEMlac.

"And we will also address priorities like the situation of urban, rural, older, disabled, indigenous and HIV-positive women", she concluded.

 

Santo Domingo, September (SEMlac).- "Unemployment is affecting mainly young women (aged 15 to 24) in the country," said Vice-president Margarita Cedeño on August 28.

She made the statement at a forum on diversity organized by Philip Morris (company) in Santiago de los Caballeros.

"The time has come to put an end to gender violence and provide women with additional, better opportunities," she added.

"Out of 10 jobs available, six are taken by men," she exemplified.

"Most women are currently working in the informal sector, with no social security or other benefits," she indicated.

Liliana Cabeza, Philip Morris general manager in the country, highlighted

the efforts made by women to play the roles of mothers, wives and workers at

the same time.

"This forum aims to recognize successful professional women," she noted.

 

Gaps

Wage gaps between men and women clearly show how challenging gender inequality is in the country.

The overall participation rate stands at 69.8 percent for men and 44.9 percent for women, according to the latest multi-purpose household survey.

Conducted by the National Office of Statistics (ONE) in late 2013 and published by Listín Diario newspaper last June, the survey showed that the gender gap is even greater in rural areas.

A World Bank report indicated that the Dominican economic growth rate had been the highest in the region last year (4.1 percent).

It said, however, that the island has failed to overcome poverty, which is still affecting four million people.

It added that inequality has limited social progress and will not make it possible to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

"The country is lagging behind in the generation of decent jobs," it concluded.

 

Mexico City, August (SEMlac Special).- Over 50 women reporters have been attacked in the last eight months for professional reasons, including 12 in the capital city, according to the Center for the Defense of Journalists' Rights (CDP).

"A total of 433 men reporters have also been attacked and four have been killed so far this year, while local authorities have shown no interest in conducting investigations," said Sara Lovera, CDP gender commissioner, at a recent Forum on Violence, Power and Freedom of Expression.

Last August 15, the Mexican government was expected to react to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which deems the country as the most dangerous nation for the functioning of journalists in the world.

The Commission got involved after Miguel Badillo, editor-in-chief of Contralínea magazine,

denounced that its offices had been assaulted and files and computing equipment had been stolen earlier this year. Its administrator had been killed a couple of years ago.

Against this background, the Commission asked the federal government to take recautionary measures because the magazine staff was at serious risk.

Speaking at the Forum, Manuel Granados, chairman of the Government Committee at the Legislative Assembly in the Federal District (ALDF), announced that a new comprehensive law is in the making to protect journalists and human rights defenders.

He indicated that six out of 10 threats against reporters come from civil servants and organized crime.

A representative of the Citizens' Movement undertook to support CDP and the establishment of a shelter for reporters at risk.

Lovera proposed that ALDF should investigate the final use made of the resources allocated to guarantee freedom of expression in the country.

She also requested the Forum to support the implementation of recommendations seeking to redress the current situation, which includes acts of intimidation, threats and economic damage.

She recalled that 76 journalists had been killed and another 16 had gone missing in the 2000-2013 period, including 25 women.

She indicated that CDP has identified 52 attacks on women reporters so far this year, including Citlali L. López in Oaxaca.

López had been threatened by Gervasio Martínez, leader of the Broad Front for the Struggle of the People (FALP), because she had covered the case of Elizabeth Sánchez, a local government official in Tlacolula de Matamoros.

The list of journalists who have been attacked this year includes Carmen Aristegui, director of a radio show, and Denis Dresser, a political scientist. They have both criticized government and business-sector actions.

Lovera said that, some years ago, a shelter for journalists in the capital city started to receive reporters from other states.

"A couple of offices to fight crimes against freedom of expression were established. They aim to promote dialogue between the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. Everything seemed to go well at the time," she added.

"CDP is both a civil-society organization and a service provider," she noted. "It will probably be closed down because of lack of resources," she regretted.

"It has since early 2011 implemented 113 actions for 1,040 reporters in 24 states of the Republic, as well as 30 precautionary, 50 remedial and 32 preventive measures," she remarked.

CDP representative Rogelio Hernández told SEMlac that he had been taken aback by government officials who had declared that 70 percent of threats to reporters come from their own agencies.

"Acts of violence in the Federal District are a source of concern. There is an urgent need for

political will and social awareness," she concluded.

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