75 UNGA: Statement by Cuba at interactive dialogue “Building back better - women's participation and leadership in COVID-19 response and recovery” of the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women of ECOSOC. New York, 18 March 2021

Mr. Chair,

In order to address the health and socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuba conceived a preventive, intersectoral and multidisciplinary model, implementing and perfecting more than 500 measures to confront this disease and ensure the protection of the entire population.

Our country has adopted labor, salary and social security and assistance measures which protect the entire population, especially women and groups at greater risk and vulnerability.

Since gender discrimination is prohibited by law in Cuba, women and men had access to and benefited from the same protection measures in the areas of health, labor, salary and social security and assistance. Among these measures, the following are worth mentioning:

  • Increase in remote work and telecommuting, relocation of workers to other posts and extension of salary guarantees.
  • Use of State education institutions to provide care for the children of mothers who, due to their working conditions, had to remain at work during the pandemic.
  • Increased assistance to people in need, identified by social workers.

On the other hand, the role of women has been essential in our efforts to respond to the pandemic and recover from its effects.

Cuba is developing five COVID-19 vaccine candidates; and from four molecular biology laboratories that existed in the whole country before the pandemic, we have 22 today. In both areas, women have played a leading role, as they represent 60 percent of higher education graduates and 53 percent of those working in the sector of science.

However, in order to achieve these results, Cuba has had to overcome the unprecedented tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States for six decades, which is the main obstacle to our development and hinders the response to the pandemic and the recovery from its effects. This hostile policy is a violation of the human rights of Cuban men and women alike; it is unjustifiable, criminal and must cease.

Thank you.