71 UNGA: Statement by Permanent Representative of Cuba to the UN, at the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation endorses the statements by El Salvador on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and by Ecuador on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and supports the Declaration of Panama adopted in the Regional Consultations in Latin America and the Caribbean prior to CSW61.

The priority issue of this session is of significant importance in the search for viable alternatives that contribute to transforming the reality in which millions of women continue to live in the world, especially rural women, Afro-descendants, indigenous women, and non-heterosexual women. It is essential to create the necessary conditions, de jure and de facto, to enable women's economic empowerment without distinction, discrimination and violence in today's changing world of work.

In this regard, it is necessary to guarantee quality education. Without education, it is not possible to make progress, neither in the economic empowerment of women nor in the building of a full culture of equality. Education is the foundation upon which women's advancement in society is based, since it enables them to acquire the knowledge and skills to be part of the labor force and to hold highly qualified jobs, trains them in the public exercise, essential for access to decision-making positions, and it also asserts from the very beginning that equality is a human right.

More than 20 years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and two years after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, we can see some progress in the position and status of women worldwide; however, what has been achieved in terms of development and equality is still insufficient. It is not enough for international instruments to establish rights, or for laws to be passed, if there is no real political will within each State

Today, in our countries, the 2030 Agenda is implemented; each of our governments must fulfill the commitments made at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equalityand Women's Empowerment held at the United Nations on September 15, 2016. Moreover, National Mechanisms have the responsibility to ensure compliance with the SDG 5 "Gender Equality" as well as with gender mainstreaming, an appropriate gender approach in the fulfillment of the rest of the goals.

Regarding the present topic, it is a priority to focus on Goal 8 "Decent Work and Economic Growth"; it is imperative that inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all be promoted.

Mr. Chairman,

Cuba met the goals set by the Millennium Development Goals and works hard in the process of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, despite the well-known consequences derived from the economic, commercial and financial blockade that continues to be imposed against Cuba by the government of the United States of America.

There is a political will on the part of the State and the Government in this regard, insofar as there is recognition of the potentiality and capacity of women to hold any job a man can hold on equal conditions.

The Constitution of the Republic of Cuba states that: "The State guarantees that all men and women able to work have the opportunity to get a job to contribute to the good of society and to the satisfaction of their own needs." Article 40 recognizes the right of women and men, under equal conditions, according to merits and capacities, to hold any position and job of the State, Public Administration and production and provision of services.

Cuban women earn same salary as men for work of equal value and are entitled to a full or partial disability pension, widow's pension, land right, to receive bank loans, as well as to paid maternity leave and consequent benefits, which not only benefits the worker before childbirth and up to the first year of the baby’s life, but also provides the opportunity for the father to be entitled to the same benefits, after agreement between the couple, once the period of exclusive breastfeeding has expired. This right, with the new modifications that have been approved, is extended to the grandmothers and grandparents. Besides, the system of kindergartens and semi-boarding schools is a significant support for the insertion of women in the economic life. 

Employment is a fundamental part of Social Security in Cuba, pensions are linked to it and therefore, the first social protection for Cubans is to have a decent job guaranteed.

Universal and free education, a right of all people, is a strategic foundation to promote women's participation and empowerment in all respects, and to make significant progress in eradicating prejudice, exclusion and all forms of discrimination and violence in private and public spaces, including in the workplace.

Female economic activity rate in Cuba is 57.3%; women make up 48% of the total number of people employed in the civil state sector and 47.2% hold senior management positions. Policies are implemented to ensure access to high-quality jobs through education and training, ensuring that more than 50% of positions are held by women and that they hold positions that require a university degree. Regarding the jobs held in the economic sector, 85.0% of women are technicians and professionals.  

Cuban women make up 48% of scientific researchers and 53.5% of those who work in the Units of Science and Technological Innovation; women are the majority in research and development of sciences, in public administration, in the defense and social security, education and health sectors. In the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, in the Supreme People's Court, and in the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic, they constitute more than 70%.

Regarding self-employment, women make up more than 31%, demonstrating their ability and possibilities to be employed independently and to contribute to the development of the country. They have the right to unionize, to social protection and to maternity leave.

Rural women enjoy the same rights as urban women, and unquestionable advances are shown in their access to employment, education, and healthcare, including sexual and reproductive health. The number in the agricultural sector has increased as well as the number of members in agricultural cooperatives. In the economic control they represent 59% and more than 60% are in charge of the organization. The technical force exceeds 35% and more than 31% are engineers.

Taking into account population aging and low birth rate, the country is working, with the collaboration of ECLAC, in order to improve what has hitherto existed in Cuba regarding policies and care services. Representatives of the Federation of Cuban Women are part of the two groups created for this purpose.

Some initiatives have also been taken such as the completion of a National Survey on Gender Equality by the Center for Women's Studies of the Federation of Cuban Women and the Office for National Statistics by the end of 2016.

Mr. Chairman,

The Cuban Government reiterates its willingness to continue to develop its social model based on justice, equality and solidarity, with strict adherence to the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and expresses its commitment to the strict compliance with the international and regional agreements and agreements adopted in favor of women.

We call on the international community, to the unity of action to overcome and eliminate poverty, illiteracy and inequalities that prevail at the regional and global levels, and to implement concrete plans and programs that guarantee the full autonomy of women and genuine gender equality.

Allow me to conclude by reaffirming the words of our President at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality when he said: "In order to move towards full gender equality and women's empowerment, we need, above all, to have a just and equitable international order ensuring the eradication of poverty and hunger, the end or armed conflicts, the value of human beings over capital and the preservation of the environment".

Thank you very much.