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Generation Equality : Gender equality and full exercise of rights…

8 March 2020
Painting by artist Carlil showing small street vendors

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 8, 2020 --- On the occasion of International Women's Day, I made acquaintance over the air with 2 extraordinary women.

The first one is commonly called "poto-mitan" compared to the sacrifices she makes daily to ensure the well-being of her children to the detriment of her health and personal development. It is about the merchant "Madan Sara".

"These poto-mitan women were generally forced to drop out of school very early to take care of their children, if however they were fortunate enough to attend school," notes Anderson Pierre, student, novelist and research assistant for the project "Open Science in Haiti and Francophone Africa".

Cherley, a young journalist from Petit Goâve in western Haiti who has watched these brave women with empathy since her childhood has always nurtured the desire to bring their voices as far as possible.

The second one is the housekeeper. This one knows differentiated treatments according to the household for which she works. She can just as easily be treated as a member of the family as a head of cattle exposed in particular to harassment.

These portraits of women are described in the context of a program supported by « Fondation Connaissance et Liberté-FOKAL (The Knowledge and Freedom Foundation) entitled "Rights on the air".

Daphnine, a young journalist who carried out the feature story on housekeepers, hosts a weekly radio program on women's rights entitled "Espas Fanm" (Women's Space). By bringing the voice of women to her program, through their problems inherent in patriarchal society, their progress and exploits, she feels that she is contributing to the struggle for the advancement of women’s rights.

The 2020 edition of International Women’s Day celebrates the iconic figures who paved the way for gender equality. "Now let's take a closer look at the current generation of activists: these women are shaping the vision of a better future for all people, regardless of gender," said the Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

Myriam Narcisse has worked across Haiti for over 15 years, managing development and microfinance programs targeting women and poor young people. She is the Executive Director of the “Haiti Adolescent Girls Network” (HAGN) whose mission is to promote the empowerment of adolescent girls through mentorship and support. « It is not just about girls exercising choices, but also and above all of breaking the cycle of poverty at birth », she explains.

According to Dr. Natalia Kanem, achieving gender equality requires empowering women and girls around the world to fully exercise their sexual and reproductive health rights.

Our goal, she recalls, is to reach the "three zeros" by 2030, namely: zero unmet need for contraception; zero preventable maternal deaths; and zero gender-based violence or harmful practice, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

In Haiti, despite some progress, the challenges in these areas remain. 2 in 5 women have unmet demands for family planning; 11% of girls aged 15 to 19 are already mothers; 1 in 10 adolescent girls, aged 15 to 19, have already started their reproductive life.

Texte : Vario Sérant