“Two Continents United for Equality” – The EU and Latin America join forces to promote women's economic empowerment


“Gender equality and diversity is not ‘nice to have’ but ‘a must’ and a necessity”. With these words Javier Niño Perez, deputy-managing director for the Americas of the EEAS, highlighted the relevance of women empowerment at the meeting for Euro-Latin American dialogue on the promotion of women’s rights held in Paris on 4th of March.

Ahead of international Women’s Day, the EUROsociAL+ programme and the French Council Presidency brought together ministers and representatives of institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women from Europe and 13 Latin America countries to share good practices and common challenges of women's economic empowerment.

The event was an opportunity to bridge the Latin American and European regional agendas to advance gender equality and social cohesion in Latin America and to provide a space for peer-to-peer learning and exchange of experiences between institutions from the two regions.

The participants concluded that equality policies are not a cost but an investment. They depend on institutional commitment, require a specific budget and an inter-institutional approach, stretching from the education sector to the labour and social protection sector, as well as taxation and fiscal policies. Ministers highlighted that women's economic empowerment is a means to gain control over their lives but also to contribute to economic growth and ensure sustainable economic development.

Javier Niño Perez stressed: ‘We have all acknowledged that no economic growth is sustainable if it does not allow half of the population to participate in their full potential. This is why gender equality and diversity is not ‘nice to have’ but ‘a must and a necessity’. It is not only about having more women. It is about equipping them with appropriate tools and ensuring their equal access to services and opportunities.’

About Eurosocial+

EUROsociAL is a European Commission programme between Europe and Latin America that aims to contribute to public policy changes to improve social cohesion through peer learning and exchanges of experience between relevant institutions in both regions. Currently, EUROsociAL+ works with more than nineteen Latin American countries.

The EU has been at the forefront of work on inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean. Since 2006, the EU’s flagship programme EUROsociAL has been instrumental in addressing social inequalities and improving social cohesion in the region. With an overall budget of over EUR 100 Million, the programme has supported the countries’ efforts in this area by promoting public policy reform, dialogue and a stronger role for civil society.

The current phase of EUROsociAL+ (Nov. 2016 – Nov. 2022) addresses social inequalities by supporting public policy reforms in three concrete areas: good governance, social policies and gender equality. The gender equality component is structured around the three autonomies (physical, economic and political) and the mainstreaming of gender in public policies. It applies a demand-driven approach and flexible methodologies. It is based on transfers of expertise from the EU to Latin America as well as among Latin American countries through triangular cooperation schemes.

EUROsociAL+ also supports the dialogue on social cohesion with partner countries. To tackle inequalities in their multidimensional nature, the programme sets up high-level consultation platforms and offers support to establish national country strategies.

The programme is implemented by a consortium composed of the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), Expertise France and the International Italian-Latin American Organisation (IILA). The consortium also includes the Central American Secretariat for Social Integration (SISCA), based in Panama, and the Central American Integration System (SICA).

EUROsociAL clearly positions the EU as a model of an inclusive society.