Under-Secretary-General for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Michelle Bachelet, said that “there is no better investment for democracy and the economic growth of countries than to invest in women.”
So said the former president of Chile during a panel on Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health, conducted within the framework of the 51st PAHO Directing Council.
For the Chilean doctor, 2011 may be a turning point for women’s health. “We all know what works to prevent and avoid maternal deaths. Of main importance is political will. Let’s move from words into action,” she urged.
On the other hand, she asserted that “we need the men” to carry the message against violence to other men and to women. And she stressed that abusive behavior is not acceptable. “The key is in prevention and in the education of children because there are other ways than violence, abuse and the use of force to resolve conflicts.”
The Chilean doctor was “reasonably optimistic” of renewing the commitment to women’s health. And she mentioned encouraging data from the region, including prenatal care reaching 95% of women, the number of pregnancies among girls was reduced, and increased contraceptive use.
Also, she considered it essential to empower women economically because, she said, “women who have their own income allocate it to health, education, family, and community.”