REPORT ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN CHILE: EQUALITY IN THE FAMILY, LABOR AND POLITICAL SPHERES
V. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
178. The Commission reiterates the need for the Chilean government to close the gap between the commitments undertaken and the discrimination in law and in practice that Chilean women endure in their daily lives. The legal, institutional and practical barriers that prevent Chilean women from achieving full gender equality with respect to the exercise and enjoyment of their rights in the family, on the job and in political life must be eradicated. The democratization of the family is crucial to enabling Chilean women to participate in the labor market and the political life of the country. As President Michelle Bachelet has said, women’s equality on every front is a key to Chile’s continued and sustainable economic, social and political development.
179. It is imperative that the efforts that the current government has undertaken become institutionalized in laws, public policies and implementation mechanisms whose effect is to create substantive and real equality.
180. The analysis and recommendations contained in this report are mainly informed by the regional human rights obligations that the American States have voluntarily undertaken, principally in the American Convention on Human Rights, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, and the Convention of Belém do Pará. The Chilean State’s obligations under international law require that it use due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish and eradicate discrimination and violence against women. The State also has the duty to guarantee that women have access to suitable and effective judicial recourse for protection against acts of discrimination and violence or to seek redress where such acts have already occurred.
181. The recommendations contained in this report are intended to help shape and craft state interventions and measures to eradicate the discrimination in law and in practice against Chilean women in the family, in political life and on the job. The recommendations have three specific objectives. First, they are calculated to promote the adoption of bills, coupled with effective implementation and evaluation measures and the necessary resources, all in order to correct gender-based distinctions found in the letter and application of Chilean law. Second, the recommendations urge the Chilean State to adopt public policies, affirmative actions and programs intended to restructure stereotyped notions of women’s role in society and to push to eradicate discriminatory socio-cultural patterns that deny women full access to justice. Finally, the recommendations are intended to encourage the Chilean State to create the conditions necessary so that Chilean women are able to use the family or criminal justice system to seek redress for acts of discrimination and violence they have suffered, and to be treated with dignity by public officials.
182. The Commission reasserts its commitment to work with the Chilean State to find solutions to the problems identified. Some of the measures adopted to address this situation reveal an understanding and recognition of the seriousness of the existing problems and a commitment on the part of members of the government to effectively bring down the many barriers that Chilean women encounter when attempting to exercise their rights, in exercise of the principle of and right to gender equality.
1. The executive and legislative branches must carefully scrutinize all laws, norms, practices and public policies whose text provides for gender-based distinctions in family life that adversely affect women or can have a discriminatory impact against women in the terms defined in this Report. Furthermore, the impact of newly adopted laws in this area, such as the Civil Marriage Act, must be assessed.
2. Increase cooperation between the executive and legislative branches to expedite passage of the bill intended to reform the current conjugal partnership regime.
3. Earmark additional financial and human resources for the family courts to enable them to cope with their caseload. Evaluate the bill intended to strengthen the functioning of the family courts to check that the changes it will introduce are capable of properly and effectively correcting the existing problems.
4. Exercise due diligence so that all acts of gender-based discrimination and violence are promptly, fully and impartially investigated, the guilty parties are properly punished, and the victims redressed.
5. Guarantee that all victims of discrimination against women have an adequate access to the appropriate legal avenues to redress the harm suffered.
6. Expedite passage of the bills intended to improve the handling of domestic violence cases.
7. Take immediate steps to ensure that all public officials involved in the prosecution of cases of violence and discrimination against women (including family-court judges, prosecutors, police, attorneys with legal aid societies and administrative personnel) receive effective instruction in women’s rights, so that the domestic and international laws are properly applied when examining and prosecuting the facts, and to ensure that the honor and dignity of the victims and their next of kin are respected when they report such cases and when they participate in the judicial proceedings.
and institutionalize training programs targeted at all state officials
involved in monitoring and supervising protective and precautionary
measures to prevent acts of violence against women, particularly family
court judges and police, to instruct them in the need to ensure that
these measures are granted and carried out, and to warn them of the
consequences for failure to do so.
9. Adopt a law for the express purpose of guaranteeing and institutionalizing balanced representation of women in the executive and legislative branches and couple that law with the mechanisms required for effective implementation and evaluation and training programs for public servants.
10. Promote research into the impact that the binominal electoral system has on women’s participation in Chilean political life, especially their chances of winning elective office.
11. Adopt affirmative action measures, such as minimum floors and financial incentives, to encourage women’s participation in popularly elected office, and back up those measures with effective implementation, evaluation and training mechanisms.
12. Create training programs targeting the players in the political system, such as political parties and members of the executive and legislative branches, to instruct them in the importance of parity participation for women and the need to create suitable conditions to achieve that end.
13. Create infant-care programs to enable more women to become part of the country’s political life.
14. Implement a mechanism for selecting magistrates that ensures sustainable parity access for women to enable them to be appointed to the benches of the higher courts and the Supreme Court.
15. Adopt measures to increase women’s sustained access to high positions in the justice system, including the courts of first, second and third instance, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office.
16. Create mechanisms to enable young women to enter and remain in the labor market.
17. Push for approval of the bill recognizing equal pay for men and women for work of equal value and establish mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the law’s implementation.
18. Push for approval of the legal initiative to make the use of maternity leave more flexible and establish mechanisms to monitor and evaluate its implementation.
19. Identify measures of other types to complement the initiatives to create nurseries, in order to provide more options that will enable women to enter the labor market.
20. Adopt public policies on the responsibilities of caring for family and home in private life with a view to getting men to play a more active role on that front.
21. Encourage research and assessments by various sectors, such as the government, civil society, the academic sector and others, into the reasons why so few women are in executive positions, and identify initiatives to begin to correct the situation.
22. Pursue efforts to eliminate practices that disadvantage women in the social security system, with particular emphasis on the introduction of measures intended to include women who have not paid into the system and women with sporadic working histories.
23. Promote research into the condition and principal needs of women working without a formal contract.
24. Amend Article 203 of the Labor Code, which concerns nurseries, to stipulate that the employer’s obligation to create a nursery at the place of work will not depend on the number of women the business employs, but rather the number of total employees (men and women alike).
25. Design information pamphlets and follow-up protocols to eliminate gender stereotypes when training for jobs and professions traditionally considered either “women’s work” or “men’s work”.
26. Encourage investigations into work- or employment-related cases filed with the proper authorities and alleging acts of discrimination against women, and the response received.
27. Develop education programs for citizens, from a formative and early stage, to promote the respect and equality of women in their private and public life, as well as the respect of their rights to live free from discrimination and violence.
28. The executive and legislative branches must carefully scrutinize all laws, norms, practices and public policies whose text provides for gender-based distinctions that can have a discriminatory effect on women and on subordinate groups.
29. Increase cooperation between the executive and legislative branches to expedite passage and implementation of a set of bills intended to promote the protection of women’s rights in the family, in political life and on the job.
30. Guarantee that all bills currently under discussion to further respect for women’s rights in the family, in political participation and on the job, are supported by effective measures for implementation and evaluation, including the design of multi-sector, prevention-oriented public policies, the necessary regulation, earmarking of sufficient resources, and instruction and sensitivity training for public officials.
31. Adopt public policies and programs destined to reconfigure the stereotypes about the role of women in society and in the family, and to promote the eradication of socio-cultural patterns that limit their options to participate in the public life in the country.
32. Implement the recommendations previously made by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations agencies and follow-up mechanisms such as the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and so forth.