My delegation endorses the statement made by the Dominican Republic on behalf of CELAC.
Cuba stands firm in its conviction that a key requirement towards the full realization of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls is the achievement of a new equitable and just international order, ensuring the eradication of poverty and hunger, the end of armed conflicts, the value of human beings above capital and the preservation of the environment.
This conviction is supported by the fact that nearly 90% of today´s war victims are civilians, most of them women, senior citizens, girls and boys.They also represent more than the 75% of refugees and people displaced by conflicts.
One out of three females experiences physical and sexual violence; 90% of the 2.5 millions of victims of the trafficking in persons are female. Additionally, women´s unemployment rates are higher and they only receive an average of 60 to 75% of men salaries for work of equal value.
Millions of women do not enjoy equal rights in terms of inheritance and property, and their representation in parliaments worldwide only represents the 22%.
Women are the 70% of the 2 700 000 of poor people worldwide and two thirds of the nearly 800 million of illiterate adults. More than 300 000 die every year from preventable complications during childbirth, 99% of them in countries of the South.
These figures evidence that forty years after the first World Conference on Women and twenty years after the adoption of the Declaration and Plan of Action of Beijing, the achievements in their implementation are fragile and insufficient.
Cuba has continuously fulfilled its international commitments relating to gender equality and women´s empowerment, including the Declaration and Plan of Action of Beijing and the Conference on Population and Development, among others.
Cuba was the first country to sign and the second to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. Cuban women have access to public spheres on equal conditions as men, and we have a Domestic Plan of Action to follow up the IV United Nations World Conference on Women.
Cuba reiterates its satisfaction for the achievement SDG-5 in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development relating to gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, and for the mainstreaming of gender perspective into the 2030 Agenda.
The national development strategy in our country comprises harmonious and articulated implementation of programs stimulating the creation and consolidation of economic, educational, cultural and social foundations. A number of laws and other legal provisions have been adopted ensuring equal rights, opportunities and possibilities for men and women, advancing in the reconceptualization of their role in society and family, and eliminating traditional sexual stereotypes.
Cuban women earn same salary as men for work of equal value and are entitled to pension in case of widowhood and full or partial disability and to paid maternity leave for one year after childbirth. They have the right to land, to receive bank credits, to free and universal access to quality education and health services; they also have sexual and reproductive rights.
Integration of Cuban women into the development process as beneficiaries and active participants is regarded as one of the most successful phenomena occurred in the country. Suffice to mention that in the year 1995, female unemployment rate was 13% and today it is below 3.5%. Women currently represent 48 % out of all the people employed in the civil state sector and 47% is holding senior managerial positions. The presence of women at parliamentary level amounts to 48.86 % and their representation in the Council of State has been increased to 45.2%.
With humble pride, we note that Cuba has been recognized by the World Health Organization as the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV-AIDS and congenital syphilis.
Sexual and reproductive rights, including the right to abortion and the free and responsible choice on fertility are guaranteed and are part of the health services. The measures adopted have never been to the detriment of the right of women to decide over their sexual and reproductive health, number and spacing of children. Women and men enjoy the specialized services required for family planning. We continue working so that our country has access to high-quality contraceptives.
Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be done. We work to continue changing cultural patterns, so that women and men share the care of the family, and women continue to increase their presence in decision-making positions at the governmental level, just to mention some elements.
It is the view of my delegation that eliminating violence against women and girls requires the lifting of all unilateral coercive measures.
In this sense, the economic, commercial and financial blockade that continues to be imposed against Cuba is an obstacle for the country´s full development and the advancement of women. It is a form of direct and indirect violence affecting and hampering Cuban women´s enjoyment of fundamental rights, including their right to development.
Nonetheless, Cuba maintains its political will to comply with all international agreements adopted in terms of women´s rights.
Allow me to conclude by reaffirming the words of our President at the World Leaders Conference on gender equality when he expressed: “In order to move towards full gender equality and women´s empowerment, it is imperative, above all, to have a just and equitable international order, ensuring the eradication of poverty and hunger, the end of armed conflicts, the value of human beings above capital and the preservation of the environment”.
Thank you very much.