septiembre 27, 2015
It is necessary to break cultural boundaries that have regarded women as an inferior or a less intelligent being for centuries
Speech by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, in Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action.


Good morning to all.

Gentlemen and ladies Heads of State; President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping: our recognition and gratitude to his country and his people, for without his decision it would have been more difficult to arrange this Meeting of Women.

Firstly, we have historically held that there are three elements or axes to actually achieve gender equality: Economic autonomy, political and personal autonomy and social autonomy.

However, the development of these three areas can only exist in a society, in a country where there is a process of global social inclusion with development and economic growth. Dreaming of gender equality in an unequal country, in a country with large social gaps, it is simply rhetoric or illusion.

In Argentina, we have developed a strong social inclusion process which obviously results in greater opportunities for gender equality; active programs and policies such as Universal Child Allowance, Universal Pregnancy Allowance, the increasingly intense promotion of free public education from kindergarten to university, gender identity laws, women protection laws, have gradually allowed a sharp decline in the inequality gap.

However, even in more developed societies there is still a gender inequality:  access to the political decision-making systems of a country.

For example, in my country, university academic tuition has a very important female component. Just this past Friday, before coming here, we had a ceremony in the Faculty of Dentistry of the City of Buenos Aires.  There is 85% of women students in that free university.

In our country women also exceed the mandatory participation in Parliament, as established by law.

However, a woman can be reelected President, and discrimination still remain. Apart from political, economic and social discrimination, it is cultural discrimination that persists strongly in all societies.

Moreover, even those in high positions like the Presidency of a country, often suffer criticism that is not political, rather than sexist criticism.  Even in the highest offices, some still make this gender difference.

Therefore, I think that besides economic development, it is necessary to break cultural boundaries that have regarded women as an inferior or a less intelligent being, for centuries.

Policies should also be targeted to Culture. So that empowering women can become not just a compromise due to signed conventions or international treaties, but a profound conviction in the hearts of men and even women themselves, who often discriminate among ourselves very unfairly.

Therefore, Mr President, ladies and gentlemen presidents, I make a strong appeal to the hearts and minds to bring down taboos and prejudices about us women and that the criticisms we receive be exactly the same men receive, not related to our gender. That is, finally, the great plea we want to do.

We have achieved in Argentina a high degree of equality. Equality must also be available to young people and all sectors of society. Because discrimination is also found in the elderly, the poor, regardless of gender.

That should be the struggle. And women must face it with greater force, because it is for our children and our grandchildren.

And finally, Prime Minister of Denmark, do not feel mortified by your mistake addressing the Secretary General of the United Nations, it may have been a premonition of who should be the Secretary General next period. Perhaps we can make an example here at the very United Nations, that discrimination against women is finally over.

Thank you very much to all.



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