In a world of overlapping crises and geopolitical realignments, the dimension of sustainable development with gender equality has been increasingly overlooked. According to the latest data from the United Nations report Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The Gender Snapshot 2022, “the world is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030. Despite progress in reforming laws, closing gaps in legal protections and removing discriminatory laws could take up to 286 years based on the current rate of change.”
Awareness of the importance of improving women’s working conditions, ensuring their economic inclusion, addressing the glass ceiling and the digital divide, and promoting their inclusion in significant political and economic decision-making is fundamental in promoting development with equality.
While advances in legislation ensure a legal framework, they are not effective without a clear economic and productive development policy with a gender perspective. This awareness must translate into joint actions within international organisations and in the forums of the world’s leading countries, such as the G20.
The gender agenda should be at the forefront of discussions within the G20, and in this regard I welcome the decision of India’s presidency of the G20 to make women-led development one of its priorities.
A broad gender perspective
We must adopt a multifaceted approach to promote women’s leadership, entrepreneurship, education and skills development and include a gender perspective in all our policies.
The integration of women in economic development on equal terms involves eliminating the gender pay gap, as well as digital and financial gaps, and, in particular, implementing policies that address inequality in unpaid care work, which undeniably affects women’s access to formal work and career advancement, whether they are employed or self-employed.
Thus, the issue of care as a human right is a substantial component of Argentina’s domestic agenda and an essential part of its foreign policy.
Therefore, in order to address the need to redistribute the burden of care between men and women, I sent two bills to Congress in 2022: one for the creation of a comprehensive care system and another for equal parental leave for mothers and fathers, pregnant or not, and adoptive parents.
Moreover, at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council in 2021, Argentina, together with Mexico, presented a joint declaration on care as a human right, which was co-sponsored by a large number of countries. This first step at the multilateral level allowed for the consideration of care as a basic need and a fundamental right.
Throughout 2022 we continued to work actively along these lines. In November we organised the XV Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the central theme of The Care Society: A Horizon for Sustainable Recovery with Gender Equality. The conference concluded with the adoption of the Buenos Aires Commitment, a groundbreaking document that enshrined care as a basic need, as work and, above all, as a right.
It is a foreign policy objective of Argentina to continue working on this basis in spaces such as the G20, in order to ensure equal rights for all, and also to ensure that women are part of an inclusive society that does not discriminate against them. The inclusion of the gender issue on the G20 agenda, discussions and declarations is the result of a struggle that is ongoing and for which we must continue to work.