The Empowerment of Women in Local Politics
Porto Alegre, Brazil, 21 March 2009
Porto Alegre Declaration
In recent years in Latin America we have seen many examples of women taking up political positions and holding positions of power. We could therefore say that Latin America is going through a new process of empowerment of women, particularly women in socialist and social-democratic parties. But unfortunately, there is still a great deal to be done in all areas of society, both public and private, before true gender equality can be achieved. Also, without equality between women and men there cannot be a democratic society.
The empowerment of women does not lie solely in achieving formal legislative or executive power, although it must be recognised that this plays a very important role. The key to empowering women lies in providing access to good quality education - the kind of education that presents a view of the world based on diversity, that recognises differences, fights against inequalities and makes secular education a fundamental principle of the policies of the state.
We must also tackle the subject of culture, or rather cultural relativism, because women and girls should not be oppressed due to their culture, nor can we continue to justify traditions and practices that are harmful to women and girls.
Likewise we must demand that equal opportunities be introduced and implemented in the employment sector by devising and implementing fair employment policies in all areas of power. It is also extremely important for women in decision-making positions to act as role models and to direct and guide other women, especially young women. The Socialist International Women strongly believes that freedom for women can only be achieved through good quality education and social and economic independence.
The Socialist International Women salutes the women who are currently in formal areas of power, considering the multiple difficulties and obstacles they have faced and will continue to face in order to keep those positions of power. Above all, Socialist International Women congratulates those women who have bravely committed themselves to this struggle with no personal gain for themselves, but whose contribution has led to the advancement and empowerment of other women. Therefore, Socialist International Women demands that political parties adopt and implement the quota system as a temporary measure in order to facilitate the involvement of women in decision-making positions at local, national and international level.