73 UNGA: Statement by Teresa Amarelle Boué, Secretary General of FMC and Member of the Council of the State of the Republic of Cuba to the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). New York, 14 March 2019.

Madame Chair,

On behalf of the Cuban government and people, I convey greetings to you and to the distinguished personalities attending this 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

The priority issue is of significant importance in order to seek viable alternatives that contribute to transforming the reality in which millions of women are still living worldwide. It is not enough for rights to be recognized in international instruments or laws to be passed, if there is no genuine political will within each of the States for their implementation.

Cuba has achieved progress in the area of social protection, which has made it a benchmark for social indicators in Latin America and the world.

The policies and programs implemented have guided the existence and improvement of the Social Protection System. Although perfectible, this System provides a guarantee of tranquility and safety for Cuban families.

The new Constitution of the Republic explicitly reaffirms the principle of equality and non-discrimination, guarantees and upholds human rights in accordance with the current reality and the national transformations that have been taking place. It further ensures that women can exercise their sexual and reproductive rights, protects them from violence in all its manifestations and spaces, and creates the institutional and legal mechanisms for this purpose, thereby reinforcing the State's express commitment to the principle of gender equality.

Employment is a key element of Social Security on the Island. Therefore, the first social protection for Cuban women and men is to be guaranteed a decent job.

Women represent 49 per cent of the labor force in the civil state sector and 34 per cent of the self-employed sector. All have equal rights and opportunities.

Universal and free education –the right of all persons– is a strategic foundation for promoting the participation and empowerment of women and girls, as well as advancing in the eradication of prejudice and all types of discrimination and violence.

The presence of women in education is greater than that of men. With respect to university enrolment, 65 per cent are women, representing 53.7 per cent of graduates from natural sciences and mathematics, and 66.9 per cent of graduates from medical sciences. Women also constitute 66 per cent of Higher Education teaching staff and make up 48 per cent of the scientific sector.  

The promotion of women to managerial positions has experienced a sustained growth of 50 per cent of posts. In addition, women make up 53.22 per cent of Parliament and hold two of the three highest ranking positions of this body. They also constitute 48.4 per cent of the State Council and 33 per cent are women Ministers. They represent 78 per cent of prosecutors and 77.5 per cent of professional judges.

The rights to education, health, sports, recreation, culture, effective legal protection, participation in the establishment, exercise and control of state power, social security and assistance, among others, are government priorities in Cuba, for which more than 60 per cent of the budget is earmarked.

Madame Chair,

Despite the harmful consequences for Cuban women of the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the United States, progress in the field of gender equality is undeniable. Although the challenges have been identified, it is necessary to reverse behaviors and practices that persist and reproduce sexist stereotypes, especially in the private sphere.

In Cuba, gender equality is a political will. Processes and mechanisms have been effectively implemented to allow SDG 5 to be included in legislation, programs, plans and budgets. This is reflected in the results of the Performance Audit carried out in 2018 by the Comptroller General of the Republic of Cuba, being ranked as "Optimized". 

Cuba reaffirms its commitment to the Declaration and Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international instruments.

The struggle for gender equality in our country is not only a matter of defending the legitimate rights of a population group, but an indispensable condition for sustainable development with social justice.

Thank you very much