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Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa participated on behalf of GWL Voices in the International Conference “Women Building Bridges” organized by the 10 year old Foundation “Mujeres por Africa” on May 19th and May 20th, 2022 in Madrid (Spain). 

Proposals from the South for global change, brought together over 70 African political leaders and an important group of Latin American politicians and activists, as well as numerous heads of international organizations.

Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa participated in the Parade of ideas, 3′ speeches by 20 women, highlighting the common challenges, challenges and dreams of African and Latin American women. In her words: “women in the Amazon basin or in the Congo basin suffer the same devastating consequences of climate change” and proposed “a radical transformation of power relations, of the predatory forms of production and consumption, and advocated peace and dialogue in the face of war”, and that “African and Latin American women must share narrative, strategy and the indestructible weapon of solidarity”.

During the first day of the conference, the group formed by GWL Voices members, Ms. Cristina Gallach, Ms.María Elena Agüero and Ms. Rebeca Grynspan (currently on-leave), who participated in “Economy for development”, held an informal meeting in which they were able to share the experiences of #SouthWomenBridges as well as comment on GWL Voices’s news.

The conclusions documents will be published in the coming days, here are the main points in advance: 

  • Being in power transforms discourses into reality, for that electoral laws need to be changed and all forms of violence against women in politics need to be eliminated. Violence against women in politics also must be prevented, prosecuted and punished,. The full political participation of women is indispensable for the existence and strengthening of democracies
  • In the field of social protection and public goods, the base document has identified 3 key axes of well-being, health (reproductive, sexual and mental), education, employment and access to income.
  • Immediate, compulsory and sustained attention by governments is needed, through the design of public systems that guarantee equal social policies and public goods, with the incorporation of statistical data and gender-disaggregated data that allow for more accurate responses and monitoring of both progress and gaps
  • In the current global security situation we need to ensure that increased military spending does not undermine income for social policies 
  • Full integration of women as a source of knowledge and experience, at all levels and stages of the welfare state is needed. We need to create the necessary conditions to ensure women’s equality in decision-making arenas, including guaranteed salaries, infrastructures, etc., in short, measures to enable women and men to balance their working and private lives
  • The visibility, recognition and redistribution of unpaid care work as essential work for sustaining life
  • Governance scenarios are based on constitutionalism, the need to raise the issues of violence against women and girls to the highest constitutional normative level
  • Emphasis on respect for the rule of law,  donor conditionality, human rights as a necessary component for multinational corporations, and the elimination of havens for stolen money 
  • Feminist peace, Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security should be established and insitutionalised in diplomacy. The reality for women and girls is that it has not been adequately implemented, there are many countries without national action plans, yet sexual violence in conflict remains extremely serious and survivors do not receive adequate support. For Resolution 1325 to become a reality, governments must be held accountable for the implementation of 1325, parity in decision-making positions, and increased investment and international sanctions against states that fail to meet their commitments. The full and meaningful participation of women in society is fundamental to conflict resolution and peace building. A call was made for all negotiating delegations without exception to include women (Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, Libya) as well as the support of women on the ground, supporting civil society actions to translate international frameworks into local agenda and community ownership. Women activists have taken on enormous responsibilities in their communities and need to be recognised, protected, supported not only in terms of capacity but also in terms of wellbeing
  • We need to end violence against women and girls. Reform legal frameworks and demand their enforcement.
  • Economic, technological, scientific and digital empowerment, we will never achieve the 2030 Agenda if we do not empower half of the population 

“Building bridges while others build walls”

Access the recording of Women Building Bridges here