Friday 24 September 2021

How Government of Costa Rica Is Ensuring Women Empowerment?

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Bishal Biswas <mail@bishalbiswas.com>

In 2021, Costa Rica ranked 15th amongst all the countries in the Global Gender Gap Report with a score of 0.786. This report evaluates the gap that exists between men and women in various sectors like health, life expectancy, economics, education and political empowerment while considering the economic factors.

Global Gender Gap Report 2021 of Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s rank decreased by two positions since 2020 but the country managed to score 0.003 score more than 2020. Additional ranks include, 110th in Economic Participation and Opportunity, 35th in Educational Attainment, 66th in Health and Survival, 8th in Political Empowerment. In 2016, Costa Rica ranked 32nd and it has moved many positions up since then indicating that gender equality has been increasing steadily in the country.

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The increased gender equality in the country can be attributed to the shifting of the traditional family roles which is now permitting more women to move outside the home for working.

Different factors that have helped the women of the country to step up include gender parity, gender equality seal and coffee farming. Many other countries who are members of Sustainable Development Goals are trying to ensure women empowerment to work towards the Goal Number 5 of Sustainable Development Goals which is Gender Equality.

Gender Parity

Costa Rica is one of the few countries that has adopted and implemented gender parity policies. The gender parity policy ensures that more women participate in the national parliament. The rise of women in the parliament was seen since 2011 when Laura Chinchilla Miranda became the first female president in the country.

She ensured that the number of women in the parliament increases steadily and steady change is what we have seen. Globally, the world average number of women in parliament is 23.59 percent but Costa Rica managed to keep the percentage high at 45.61 percent.

Following the footsteps of Costa Rica, even India is working towards women empowerment by introducing schemes like SSY for making them financially independent.

Gender Equality Seal

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The Gender Equality Seal in Costa Rica was implemented by the National Institute of Women by joining hands with UNDP Costa Rica. The key focus areas of Gender Equality Seal includes legal barriers, improving pay conditions, care and financial and digital inclusion.

The Gender Equality Seal of Costa Rica recognises both the public and private organizations that are implementing gender equality in their workplace. For gaining the gender equality seal, the organisation has to guarantee gender equality both in labour relation and internal process.

The approach for the same involves identification of the gap that exist between men and women and then creating a work plan to narrow down and close those gaps and then finally, to monitor the result.The four areas which are covered in Gender Equality Seal includes integral health, human resources, work environment and co-responsibility in care.

Coffee Farming

Costa Rica is known for its coffee farming and International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) is lending help to the women of the country in creating opportunities for them in coffee farming.

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IWCA was formed in 2003 by the Women of Costa Rica, US and Nicaragua who came together to improve coffee holistically while ensuring empowerment of women in the coffee industry.

IWCA involves 27 countries including India for creating sustainable livelihood for the women. PM Kisan scheme of India is known for empowering all kinds of farmers in the country. Since 2003, IWCA has been helping women to connect and become independent by ensuring their participation in the coffee industry.

Recently, the United Nations Security Council has endorsed Antonio Guterres as the Secretary-General for the second term making the other members question why in 76 long years, there has never been a woman in charge of that position.

Even though the disappointment was high, Costa Rica was the only country that voiced the cover in April at UN by saying that the country strongly believes that now is the time to select a female Secretary-General as for 75 long years, the organization has been led by the ben.

Further, it remarked that having a female General-Secretary will ensure that the principle of equality and empowerment is upheld for the women.

 

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