Gender inequality has historically been a structural feature of Latin America and the Caribbean, which is at the root of the unsustainability of the prevailing development model. In addition to exacerbating the structural challenges of gender inequality, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the unfair organization of care within society and the need to put care and sustainability at the centre of the development model. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has therefore called for faster progress towards economic, climate and gender justice and a transition to a care society1 that prioritizes the sustainability of life and care for the planet and guarantees the rights of people who require or provide care; that takes into account self-care; that works to reduce the precariousness related to the care sector; and that raises awareness of the multiplier effects of the care economy on well-being and its ability to drive a transformative recovery with equality and sustainability.
At the various sessions of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, the governments of the region have committed to overcoming inequality through public policies that guarantee women’s rights and contribute to women’s physical, economic and decision-making autonomy and to achieving gender equality in legal frameworks and in the results of policy implementation; in short, commitments have been made to achieving formal equality and substantive equality. The sixty-first meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean will include a high-level panel to address the challenges and opportunities of moving towards a care society for recovery with gender equality and sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean.