Once more, the Cuban Revolution has shown that respect for women and their dignity holds one of the highest places among its core principles, along with equal opportunities for their advancement.
Evidence of this is the publication, on a date as significant for women as March 8, in Extraordinary Official Gazette No. 14, as Presidential Decree 198 of 2021, by which, in use of the powers vested in him, the President of the Republic of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, established the National Program for the Advancement of Women.
This program is based on the rigorous observance by the Cuban State of the international agreements and instruments for women’s rights while taking into consideration the challenges presented in the assessments of the Action Plan of the Republic of Cuba Monitoring to the Fourth Conference of the UN on Women.
According to the Presidential Decree, these are the core elements included in the National Program for the Advancement of Women:
It summarizes the position and political willingness of the Cuban State, which is the cornerstone in the creation of policies in favor of women, continues the work for the advancement and development of gender equality in the country and institutionalizes this right.
It is the Agenda of the Cuban State for the advancement of women and it corresponds with the principles and postulates established in the Constitution of the Republic and in the new scenario of update of the Cuban Economic and Social Model of Socialist Progress, and with the international commitments on gender equality signed by Cuba.
It promotes actions to achieve greater comprehensiveness and effectiveness in the prevention and elimination of manifestations of discrimination against women, strengthens the mechanism and the professional capability of public servers and officials so they can add the questions of gender in the creation of policies, programs and in rendering services.
It is a government program which, with the participation of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), promotes and ensures monitoring, assessment and tracking of actions and comes in response to recommendations from the Committee for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
For the materialization of the National Program for the Advancement of Women, a plan of action was conceived with measures and the elaboration of a communicational campaign to announce its creation and spread information for general purposes:
To promote the advancement of women and equal rights, opportunities and possibilities, as endorsed in the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, as well as eliminate the objective and subjective factors of discrimination that still exist in Cuban society and hinder economic, political and social results.
It also contains nine specific goals that range from a greater systematicity in the monitoring by the government of the actions to promote the advancement of women to the inclusion of gender issues in different levels of education, in leadership training, and to encourage public debate on the role of women in all the fields of progress and action.
It must be stressed that this plan of action has one cross-cutting axe: gender equality and the plan of actions to make the National Program for the Advancement of Women a reality takes references from not only action instruments, but from the constitution itself, the Conceptualization of the Cuba Economic and Social Model and the Bases of the National Plan for Economic and Social Development through 2030.
The plan addresses seven fields:
– Economic empowerment of women
– Mass media
– Education, prevention and social work
– Access to decision-making
– Legislation and law. Legal framework and protection systems against all forms of discrimination and violence
– Sexual and reproductive health
– Statistics and research
The general secretary of the Federation of Cuban Women shall report to the Council of Ministers, and every two years, the status of the goals, actions and measures of the Program. The Council of Ministers will be in charge of overseeing the fulfillment of the Presidential Decree.
The seven fields each contain actions and measures that, in turn, have been assigned to responsible parties and participants. It ensures a direct tracking of each of these by relevant ministries and the inclusion of other agents.
Periodically review the employment needs and opportunities in each territory and in the different sectors of the economy.
Promote the engagement of farmer women, especially young ones, in different sources of employment.
Conduct an analysis of the state and non-state sectors from a gender approach and its practical implementation.
Guarantee a culture of equality, respect to diversity and non-discrimination in communication and information policy.
Guarantee an institutional communication with a gender approach and a focus on human rights in all institutions and organizations.
Encourage and increase the presence of female directors, especially in television and films.
Education, prevention and social work:
Train teaching staff in issues of gender, sexual education, equality and non-discrimination. To teach students these values by inserting them in different education levels in the form of informational modules taught by means of various teaching instruments.
Guarantee the continuous promotion of education and formation in a culture of equality in textbooks, curricula and syllabuses.
Access to decision making:
Improve the policies that make possible the promotion of women to all the decision-making levels, based on their diversity, and include training in gender-related topics in all the levels, institution and centers of leadership training.
Promote the presence of female representative in all levels of the People’s Power system, especially at the local level.
Elaborate and implement in a systematic, harmonic and comprehensive way a gender strategy for the legal system.
Ensure that the institutions work to prevent, attend to, face up to and monitor gender and intrafamilial violence, prostitution, human trafficking, and all forms of discrimination for any condition or circumstance that may go in detriment of human dignity.
Sexual and reproductive health:
Unite and systematize the training and action of al those involved in the Program for a Responsible Parenthood.
Improve and promote the program of sexual education for children, teenagers and young people with an emphasis on feelings, respect to differences, responsibility, solidarity and gender equality.
Strengthen the gender approach and the sexual rights in all Health programs.
Statistics and research:
Mandate and review the effective addition of continuous and special statistics issued by all organizations and institutions.
To add the criteria separated by sex in statistics and databases.
Pay special attention to the statistics of morbidity, from a gender and territorial approach, according to their causes.
Promote the creation of a Gender Scientific Observatory.
We have a long way to go and big challenges to face but the goal is clear: the higher we move in gender equality, the closer and more encompassing our ideal of justice will be.