The development of women is the development of Peru, by Bettina Woll | OPINION

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The emergency measures we took last year to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 they exacerbated existing inequalities. And at the same time, they hid behind the doors of the home another pandemic that, as a country, we have always been facing: violence against women. women and the girls.

Suddenly, many of them found themselves locked in their homes with their attackers and found their possibilities to make complaints or access help even more limited. This meant an increase in gender-based violence: during 2020, the Women’s Emergency Centers attended 114,495 cases of violence and calls to line 100 doubled.

But not only physical or psychological violence violates the rights of women women and girls, but also denying or limiting access to opportunities. Before the pandemic, women in Peru they dedicated approximately 24 hours a week more than men to unpaid domestic work. With the quarantine, when time at home increased exponentially for both women as for their dependents, 46% of the women Young people in Latin America told ECLAC that the hours dedicated to care increased.

A study carried out by UNDP and GRADE revealed that women in Peru they were the most affected by the loss of jobs and income, as they were overrepresented in the services and commerce sectors in which 49% of those with low incomes could not continue working. The women They are also the majority of people with informal employment, since unpaid jobs and other responsibilities generate a poverty of time that does not allow them a formal professional development. This shows how the prejudices and stereotypes that justify the sexual division of labor are conditioning the opportunities they can access.

In 2019, with the approval of the National Gender Equality Policy, the State assumed a commitment and put on the agenda the creation of the National System of Care, as one of the actions to guarantee the exercise of the social and economic rights of the women. This must gather principles, norms, programs, services and instruments through which the right of people to receive care is ensured, as well as the rights of the people who provide them. The implementation or improvement of infrastructure, the strengthening of social programs and the recognition of care as a shared responsibility benefits all people and promotes the rights and autonomy of children, girls, adolescents, the elderly, people with disabilities and women who perform care work.

With the gradual exit from the restrictions of the pandemic and the commitment to economic reactivation, it is key that this commitment is reinforced and acted upon. Recovery must be carried out with an intersectional and gender approach, taking into account the difficulties faced and will face women to return to work and contributing to the media that contribute to closing gender gaps.

Thus, betting on a care system at the national level can highly benefit the country, as it will impact on the increase in productivity and competitiveness, through the use of the workforce by freeing up the time of the women to engage in paid work, and the creation of new formal jobs within the system. The creation of these jobs also implies the recognition and professionalization of care work, traditionally assumed as a natural function of caregiving. women, and it will be a tool to fight the informality that care workers face. It would also have an impact on the quality of life of families, by reducing income losses associated with unpaid work and bringing benefits to dependent populations that are not covered by any system.

Development opportunities contribute to the economic empowerment of women, which reduces their vulnerability to violence. In addition, making care work visible at the public level will help promote joint responsibility within the home. The National Care System will function as a support network to which the women they will be able to appeal and that will allow them to take advantage of the opportunities to develop fully in the future.

The development of women and girls it is the development of the country. It is essential that we guarantee their access to opportunities to achieve a sustainable and inclusive recovery towards the end of the crisis. In the construction of the new normal, we have the opportunity and the obligation to reinforce their capacities and presence in the public sphere, towards the reduction of inequalities and their full development. We cannot move forward if half the population is left behind.

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