EFEMadrid

Hundreds of female mayors from Latin America have been invited to participate in a broad training program co-organized by the regional office of UN Women and Spain’s Efe News Agency.

The regional director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean, María Noel Vaeza, and president of Efe, Gabriela Cañas, hosted the opening ceremony on Thursday.

Fake news, inclusive language and crisis management were just some of the areas covered by the program which will resume in February with more workshops and debates.

"It is essential for the recovery of the region to uplift the position of women in decision-making roles," Vaeza said.

Women only make up 15% of mayors in the region and as such "an agenda that puts women at the center and gender issues in the mainstream is needed," she added.

Targeting mayors, councilors and their advisory teams, the EFE-led training program aims to "facilitate access to strategic and practical tools to improve the management of communication strategies of women in local politics."

"The normalization of female leadership requires the participation of the media (...) We need a critical mass capable of rapidly directing the collective gaze towards women leaders," Cañas said.

Vaeza said that enhancing the role of women is especially important to recover from the pandemic, which has triggered a 5.8% contraction of the regional GDP  — the largest in 120 years — and which "has especially affected women, who were set back by almost 13 years in labor market terms."

In most Latin American countries (26), the percentage of elected female mayors is below 15%. Only Cuba (47.0%) and Nicaragua (42.5%) exceed the 30% threshold, according to the latest figures from the Division of Gender Affairs at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The regional office of UN Women and Efe Agency have teamed up in the past to address issues of global importance with a feminist approach.EFE

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