epa-efeAsuncion

The Paraguayan women's affairs ministry presented Monday the National Equality Plan, which aims to achieve "real equality" between men and women by 2030.

Even after the implementation of three previous gender-equality initiatives, "gaps persist," Minister Nilda Romero said during an event at an Asuncion hotel with President Mario Abdo Benitez and first lady Silvana Lopez in attendance.

"We are in a position to aspire to more," she said, adding that the plan, which outlines objectives and methods for implementing public policies for the next five years, aims to "eliminate obstacles."

The initiative calls for eliminating discrimination against women, as well as establishing mechanisms that favor equal access and the "permanence" of women in positions of "decision-making in all branches of government."

Romero also pointed out that the proposal seeks to "create conditions" that allow "the economic empowerment and autonomy of women," and to ensure women's access to the courts.

The National Plan includes specific projects for economic empowerment of indigenous women and mandates creation of a body to monitor gender violence, "to achieve greater effectiveness in prevention and punishment" of offenders.

On hand for the presentation was the UN Women representative in Paraguay, Florence Raes, said the plan constitutes a tool to undertake a public policy that is "not only ambitious but also very practical" because it "identifies the obstacles in each area."

The plan's objectives are also consistent with the United Nations' Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, Raes said.

Romero said that reducing inequality between men and women will be a "state policy" involving all public institutions, a point emphasized by the presence of the president in the presentation of the initiative, as well as numerous other senior officials and the Asuncion diplomatic corps.

The event paid tribute the Paraguayan women, embodied for the occasion by the reigning Miss Paraguay - Veronica Viveros - dressed in traditional 19th-century garb in recognition of the "women who rebuilt the country" after the 1864-1870 War of the Triple Alliance.

That conflict, the bloodiest between states in the history of South America, wiped out nearly 70 percent of the adult men in Paraguay.