UN celebrates progress in gender equality and sets out the next steps

The United Nations headquarters has been dressed since last Monday with the bright colors of the costumes of hundreds of women and men from all over the world under one banner, that of equality. Until March 24, New York is hosting the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women (the CSW61), despite the snowstorm that has hit the city over the last few days.

This jointly commemorates progress toward gender equality and is a space for reflection for women of all cultures who are planning what the next steps should be together and are encouraged by what they have already achieved.

At the inauguration, the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, said the empowerment of women –the main theme of this 61st session– should be a priority in the world and argued that progress toward equality will allow greater economic growth. “We are going to unleash the potential of all women and girls, and these are the people who will lead a new future,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, the President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson, stressed that the gap can be reduced with technology and innovation since, among other things, they facilitate access to financial services for many women. In this regard, the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, maintained that financial and digital inclusion are “vital”.

BBVA Microfinance Foundation present in the CSW61

Laura Fernández Lord, women’s empowerment manager for BBVA Microfinance Foundation, has submitted relevant data to the Commission on the more than 1.8 million vulnerable people served by the Foundation in Latin America; 60% of them are women.

The system for measuring the economic and social performance of BBVAMF, a proprietary methodology used as a management tool to reach more people and better, reflects that women are more efficient than men when given an opportunity. “Our entrepreneurs represent seven out of ten customers who rose out of poverty in 2016,” stated Fernández Lord. Moreover, as she noted, with 50% less capital investment than men, women’s surpluses are 20% higher.

“Our entrepreneurs represent seven out of ten customers who rose out of poverty in 2016”

According to UN Women, in Latin America, the labor force participation of women is 56.4%, compared to almost 85% for men. Entrepreneurship is often a way to combat the lack of opportunities women have to deal with, especially when they have dependents. In 32% of households in the region, a woman provides the main source of income.