November 26, 2022

Colombia advances in the creation of a Ministry of Equality and Equity

Read Time:4 Minute, 24 Second


(CNN Spanish) — One of the key proposals of the Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez campaign is advancing in Colombia: the creation of a Ministry of Equality and Equity. This is a campaign bet by the new Government and it is also an enormous challenge, since the country was cataloged by the World Bank in 2021 as the second most unequal in Latin America.

The Executive filed this Tuesday before Congress a bill for the creation of the new portfolio, which will aim to lead and coordinate policies to eliminate inequalities in a country that, for it is the more unequal of all of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Ministry will be in charge of targeting, coordinating and implementing policies aimed at especially vulnerable population groups, says the Government. Among these are, according to the Executive, women, blacks, raizales, palenqueros, indigenous and Roma, as well as the LGBTQ+ population, peasants, children, youth and older adults. They also include among the beneficiaries households that are currently in a situation of poverty, people living on the streets and migrants.

A student writes a task on the blackboard during a Palenque language class, in San Basilio de Palenque, northern Colombia, in a file image from 2012. (Credit: Luis Acosta/ AFP/ Getty Images)

In this sense, the Ministry will be in charge of focusing the offer of the institutions at the national level, of giving guidelines for the interventions in certain groups of the population, of promoting the participation and organization of citizens so that the excluded groups have more incidence and of implement initiatives that are within its competence, among other actions. It will also be in charge of monitoring the plans and analyzing the situation the country is going through in terms of discrimination and exclusion.

“This bill seeks to create an institutional framework for equality. It seeks to put the concept of equality at the center of the debate in Congress, in its different political factions.” Petro said in the presentation of the text. For the president, equality, an issue that “is so silenced in public discussion,” is key to achieving peace. “Without equality there is no total peace, without dignity for all and all there is no total peace,” he said.

Several of these groups have been at the center of the speech of the “Historic Pact” headed by Petro, especially because of the figure of Márquez, who is the first black woman, Afro-descendant and a native of one of the impoverished regions of the country, Cauca, who reached a position of relevance of the Vice Presidency.

campaign pledge

The creation of a Ministry of Equality was one of the main promises in terms of gender policies of Petro and Márquez, who also promised that women occupy “50% of all public positions at all levels and branches of power “.

The “Historic Pact” also proposed the creation of a National Care System to recognize, reward, reduce and redistribute the care tasks that women have historically been in charge of and guarantee a basic minimum income above the poverty line. “to protect and empower women heads of households.”

(Here you can review the rest of his proposals on gender).

But it is also in line with other plans aimed at improving equality, according to the administration’s vision, such as the tax reform that aims to increase the contributions of the richest Colombians, and the agrarian reform that would imply a profound change in the land management, among others.

How disruptive is this proposal?

Many European countries have hierarchs whose function is to work on equality, although they do not necessarily have specific ministries. One case that has made a lot of noise is that of Spain, which has a Ministry of Equality that has not been without controversy, mainly due to continuous criticism from the right.

In Latin America, for example, Argentina has a Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity, while Chile has a Ministry of Women and Gender Equity.

Radiography of inequality in Colombia

Inequality in Colombia has been on the rise since 2018 and was further aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic, according to World Bank analysis, which estimated that even before the outbreak of covid-19 it could take more than three decades to reach the average level. of inequality in the OECD countries, of which it is a part.

Multitudes of figures allow to illustrate the situation of inequality, which is of income but also of employment and educational opportunities, among others.

To mention just three examples managed by the institution, a Colombian woman is 1.7 times more likely to be unemployed than a man. A person born in Chocó, the poorest department, is five times more likely to be born into poverty than a person born in Bogotá. And in terms of ethnic groups, for example, an indigenous person reaches an average of two years less of schooling than a non-indigenous citizen.

Venezuelans await commercial reactivation on the border with Colombia 2:41

Inequality also affects migrants, a particularly painful reality for Venezuelans who have settled en masse in Colombia in their flight from the crisis in their native country.



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