This year, governments, civil-society organizations and experts will have the opportunity to review progress and challenges in gender equality in Latin America and the Caribbean, at the 12th session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
This intergovernmental meeting, which is convened by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), will be held in the Dominican capital from 15 to 18 October and will focus on gender equality, women's empowerment and information and communications technologies (ICTs).
ICTs are an essential and cross-cutting support for all economic, political, cultural and social activities, as well as representing a production sector in their own right. In this sense, such technologies can be used to help achieve equality by contributing to a reduction in persistent gender inequalities in Latin American and Caribbean societies.
The conference's main document, Women in the digital economy. Overcoming the threshold of inequality, is the responsibility of the ECLAC Gender Affairs Division, in collaboration with the Commission's Division of Production, Productivity and Management.
In recent months, two preparatory meetings were held and attended by ministers and senior authorities from mechanisms for the advancement of women and ministries of economy, science and technology, agricultural development, foreign affairs, employment and health - in order to analyse the proposals and recommendations contained in this position paper.
The first meeting was held on 8 May in Costa Rica, for Central American countries and Mexico, while the second was held on 21 and 22 May in Uruguay, for representatives from South American countries. The meeting for Caribbean countries will be held in August.
Non-governmental organizations can take part in the Santo Domingo conference in various ways: by forming part of national delegations (which must be arranged in each country and approved by the government involved); as organizations with consultative status with the United Nations (in accordance with the rules of the Economic and Social Council); or as observers specially invited by ECLAC.
The Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, which is held at least every three years, is a subsidiary body of ECLAC that aims to identify women's needs at the regional and subregional levels, undertake periodic assessments of the activities carried out in order to fulfil the regional and international plans and agreements on the subject, serve as a forum for debates on relevant issues and present recommendations
The previous session was held in 2010 in Brasilia, with the focus on autonomy and the economic empowerment of women. The Commission's thinking was reflected in the document What kind of State? What kind of equality?, while the agreements of the meeting were summarized in the eight areas covered by the Brasilia Consensus.