Chile moving forward in women’s empowerment, says President of Chile

24 Feb 2016

Chile’s efforts to move forward in empowering women was discussed in a televised speech by Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, on the concluding day of the Global Women’s Forum.

Referring to statistics reported by Unesco in 2015, Bachelet pointed out that women’s participation in the fields of science and technology in Chile is 32 per cent.

“I hope to see an employment rate of 63 per cent for women, from the current 58 per cent, and an increase of women in poverty joining the workplace,” she said.

In Chile, only 25 out of every 100 women in poverty have a job and the president wants to increase the number of working women to 300,000 in the next few years.

Bachelet pointed out that 300 women are currently being trained in the trade sector, with the aim of being qualified by 2019. Chile is also moving forward by increasing the number of women’s private companies, she said. “When I joined office in 2015 it was 5 per cent. Now it’s 28 per cent, and we are aiming for 48 per cent by the end of term,” she said.

“Women are and could be great contributors,” she added.

Citing a Unesco study, she said gender parity is as low as 5 per cent in Latin American countries.

Bachelet, who symbolically signed into law the creation of the Women’s and Gender Equality Ministry in Chile, said the country will have 40 per cent female candidates in the next elections. Currently, 16 per cent of the House of Deputies is made up of women, whereas 18 per cent of the Senate are women. She wants both quotas to reach 25 per cent in the near future to ensure the promotion of women-friendly legislation.

“Empowering women is an objective by itself and it will enable the achievement of the rest of the goals. It’s a necessity and an obligation and it’s a long road ahead,” she said.

People at the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority Stand during the Global Women’s Forum at Madinat Jumeirah on Wednesday.

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