Enhancing Women’s Empowerment in Latin America (Argentina & Paraguay)

Canadian Ambassador Fry delivering open remarks emphasizing Canada’s priorities in the protection and advancement of women’s human rights.

Dr. Caroline Andrews at the Canadian Embassy.

Maricruz Mendez Vall (Director of Promotions of Working Women), Vice-Minister Claudia Garcia, Stael Ruffinelli (Director of the Paraguayan Center of Canadian Studies), Noemi Weis (Director of the fillm MILK), and Ambassador Fry.

Deputy Victoria Donda and the FUNDECO team (left) with Noemi Weis, Beatriz Ventura (Canadian Embassy) and Fernando Zingman (UNICEF Argentina).

In line with Canada’s commitment to the development agenda which includes the empowerment of women and girls; and the prioritization of maternal, newborn, and child health, during the months of March and April, the Embassy of Canada to Argentina and Paraguay organized a series of events and the regional advocacy campaign #MarzoMujer, which highlighted “The Empowerment of Women” and celebrated International Women’s Day in both Argentina and Paraguay.

Sharing Agendas on Women Issues

In partnership with the National University of Rosario, the Embassy of Canada in Buenos Aires hosted the Women and Leadership Congress. Special guest Dr. Caroline Andrew from the Institute of Governance of the University of Ottawa and Toronto filmmaker Noemi Weis from Filmblanc were part of the discussions on pressing issues which included: Women, Education, and Society; Women in Politics; and Women, Economy and Employment.

Dr. Andrew also visited the Embassy and attracted key contacts engaged in women issues for an open discussion and exchange of information on Canada and Argentina political participation focusing on the importance of local community and women in the policy-making process. This event was complemented by a presentation of the book “Bridging gender gaps? The rise and deceleration of female labor force participation in Latin America,” an analysis of the consequences on labour and social outcomes and implication of public policy in Latin America over the last two decades financed by the IDRC  

For the 9th consecutive year, the most influential women’s network in Argentina, Mujeres en Igualdad, held its first working breakfast of 2016 at the Embassy. Guests from all across the nation and different sectors filled the room to its capacity. Members of embassies, senate, and congress alongside with numerous delegations of Mercosur, the City of Buenos Aires, civil society associations, and many others were present. Violence against women and the lead-up to the MEI-PNUD Congress on Women against Corruption in October to which the Canadian Justice Minister is being invited were some of the topics discussed. This event provided the platform for like-minded individuals for open discussion and planted the seed for future cooperation.

Empowering Women on Maternal and Child Health: MILK documentary by Noemí Weis

The Embassy also organized a regional screening of the documentary film, MILK. The film highlights pressing issues related to maternal and child health and violence against women. Supported by UNICEF, ParlAmericas, and many other institutions, MILK was filmed in 11 different countries, including Canada, and has received numerous accolades in various festivals.

The film screened in both Rosario and Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 23 and 29 respectively, with more than 600 participants from a variety of sectors attending. The screenings were followed by a thought-provoking debate where the viewers got the chance to share their thoughts with the director, Noemi Weis. The film received great response within the region and is now being requested an advocacy tool to move forward with the implementation of laws regarding women’s rights.

The film was well received within the region and is now being requested as an advocacy tool to move forward with the implementation of policies regarding women’s rights. The presentation of the film took place in the framework of the programs highlighting Canada’s commitment to promoting rights for women and girls.

Empowering Women in the Field of Work and Health

Ambassador Fry participated in a round-table on “Empowering Women in the Field of Work and Health” in Paraguay organized by the Embassy of Canada, the Ministry of Women, the Paraguayan Center of Canadian Studies, and filmblanc.

“Protection and advancement of women’s human rights remains a central foreign policy priority for Canada”, Canadian Ambassador Robert Fry emphasized to introduce the screening of MILK in Asunción.  All these events were held with great success and enjoyed great media coverage and interviews with distinguished guests.