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Work of the Unidas network of women from Germany, Latin America and the Caribbean gathering pace

Panel at the 2019 Latin America and Caribbean Conference at the Federal Foreign Office

Panel at the 2019 Latin America and Caribbean Conference at the Federal Foreign Office, © Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

21.10.2019 - Article

The work of the Unidas network of and for women from Germany, Latin America and the Caribbean is gathering pace. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is patron of the network. In addition to the launch of its online platform, Unidas will also award an annual Prize for Women’s Rights and Democracy.

Unidas will promote women’s rights across continents. The aim is to strengthen women’s participation and leadership in politics, the media, society, business and science. At the same time, Unidas wants to foster exchange between women in order to promote mutual learning and support between Germany, Latin America and the Caribbean, thus achieving the vision of a society founded on equal opportunities and gender equality.

Since its establishment, 160 founding members from Latin America, the Caribbean and Germany and nine partner organisations have joined the network. The network’s foundation reflects Germany’s commitment to women, peace and security in the United Nations Security Council and its awareness that gender equality creates more stable and safe societies.

Better opportunities, stronger rights, greater participation

The lack of fair representation and self-determination over one’s own body, along with unequal economic participation and sexualised violence, should become a thing of the past. All over the world, women should have better opportunities so that they can determine their own lives. Strengthening women’s rights and participation will help to create new ways of thinking and acting in society, the economy, peace consolidation, politics, art, culture, healthcare, ecology and education.

Unidas has strong partners, which include the Deutscher Frauenrat (National Council of German Women’s Organisations), the UN Women Nationales Komitee Deutschland and renowned organisations from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The founding members also play a part in Unidas’ special profile. They include women who shape public discourse, pioneers and activists in the global fight for equal rights, such as the German actor and women’s rights activists Sibel Kekilli, the Brazilian singer and Latin Grammy nominee Xênia França and Soledad Nuñez, a former Paraguayan minister.

There can be no genuine democracy without the concept and practical realisation of gender equality. That is why anyone who calls themselves a true democrat should, without any ifs or buts, work to promote women’s rights and equality.
(Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on 7 March 2019 in a speech to mark International Women’s Day).

Unidas is becoming concrete. What happens next?

The first important step is to connect the members and partner organisations. Unidas has been working flat out over the past days to finalise and launch its online platform, which creates a forum for discussion and communication and will be used to share ideas, form groups and organise events – all of which can be done easily via just one website, www.unidas.world.

Moreover, Unidas is raising awareness of female role models by publishing profiles of strong women from Germany, Latin America and the Caribbean. It is also flagging up current issues, such as femicide as a particular problem of violence against women, especially in Latin America, crisis prevention and women’s role in peacekeeping. The network provides input for discussion on these and other topics, as well as opportunities to identify solutions through exchange and communication.

Prize for Women’s Rights and Democracy

Furthermore, Unidas wants to highlight outstanding commitment to efforts to achieve gender equality. The annual Unidas Prize for Women’s Rights and Democracy will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to those who stand up with particular courage and perseverance for gender equality. In 2020, the Federal Foreign Office will allocate approximately 350,000 euros to the members of the network to fund civil-society projects.

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