To guarantee the effective participation of women in Costa Rica's economic development, the country's President, Laura Chinchilla, signed in San Jose on Thursday, February 27, 2014, an executive order that officially creates the National Network of Support for Women's Economic Autonomy.
The order was also signed by the Economy, Industry and Commerce Minister, Mayi Antillón; the Minister for the Condition of Women and President of the National Institute of Women, Isabel Chamorro; the Science, Technology and Telecommunications Minister, Alejandro Cruz; the Labor and Social Security Minister, Olman Segura; and the Minister for Agriculture and Livestock a.i., Tania López.
This instrument represents the most significant outcome of the project "Promotion of productive development through women's inclusion in quality jobs in Central America," implemented since 2013 as part of a cooperation program between the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The Director of ECLAC's Division for Gender Affairs, Sonia Montaño, attended the ceremony in San Jose.
"This is the first initiative at a presidential level that brings together public and private sector efforts to improve women's economic autonomy," stressed Montaño, who also praised the Costa Rican experience as "a concrete example of the social covenants for equality promoted by ECLAC as the basis for structural change in Latin America and the Caribbean."
ECLAC-BMZ's project-launched in May 2013 in Costa Rica under the initiative "Where are the productive women of Costa Rica?"- is also being implemented in El Salvador and Panama. The project recently started in South America as well (Peru).
The National Network of Support for Women's Economic Autonomy, formed by 30 organizations, will be established as a mechanism for inter-institutional coordination. The network's members include chambers, non-governmental organizations, financial and academic entities, and public and private institutions that develop programs and projects aimed at improving women's economic autonomy.
To advance in strategic alliances and effective coordination between the state, the financial and business sectors, and academia, the organizations signed on Thursday a letter of understanding, with President Chinchilla as their witness of honor.
Montaño emphasized that the executive order and the letter of understanding identify seven priority areas of action, the result of previous work by the organizations in the network, through which they evaluated the current situation in Costa Rica and designed an intervention strategy to improve the economic autonomy of women.
Starting now, as part of a second stage, a pilot project will be developed to support productive women. This includes strengthening the personal and corporate skills of women who lead 40 business ventures, selected in different phases of development, as well as the ratification of the tools and facilities of the entities represented in the network. Finally, they will document this pilot experience to be able to work with other groups nationally and allow for the project to be implemented internationally.
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