At the World Conference on Actions against Gender-Based Violence, Winnie Byanyima, Director of the Gender Team of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said that Venezuela is an innovator in pro-women laws. Moreover, according to David Mclachlan-Karr, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Venezuela, the UNDP sponsored conference was held in Venezuela in recognition of the Venezuelan government’s efforts to guarantee women a life free from violence. The event was also attended by Venezuela’s Minister of People’s Power for Women and Gender Equality, María León, who spoke about Venezuela’s experience in this matter.
Minister León indicated that Venezuela’s most important step of the last decade towards women’s rights occurred in 1999, with the approval of the Constitution, especially Article 88, which states that housework must be recognized and reimbursed.
The Minister said that it is type to change the image of women, noting that “speeches are not enough, laws are not enough, and therefore we must change the image of weakness.”
She explained that through the National Institute for Women (INAMUJER), Venezuela has created 25 thousand meetings groups (consisting of 10 to 15 women each) that are in charge of tasks such as re-emphasizing the role of female heroines in history and working against violence. It is hoped that each of the women in this program reaches out to ten more women. This would meet the goal of having 2 million women working for their rights, in what would be an army of women against violence.
Director Byanyima, made a special point of emphasizing the need to have an honest discussion to review the work being done worldwide towards ending violence against women. She also highlighted that Venezuela is an innovator in pro-women laws and has positive experiences that should be shared, particularly with the rest of Latin Americas. “Venezuela has taken the reins of institutional mechanism to help women progress,” she affirmed.
International and domestic experts assisted the conference. Venezuelans attending included Nora Castañeda, President of the Women’s Bank of Venezuela, Drany Pamphil, INAMUJER’s Director of International Relations, and Neyla Isturdez, Public Defender of the Rights of Women.
Ministry of People’s Power for Women and Gender Equality Press Office, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / April 22, 2009