Guatemala’s Forum for Women MPs: Empowering women through legislation

On 5 August, Guatemala’s Forum for Women MPs presented their strategic plan to develop laws towards gender equality in Guatemala.

The Forum for Women MPs brings together Congresswomen from across the political spectrum in Guatemala. It allows these women to come together, engage in dialogue, and unite their efforts to advance legislation which will benefit women from across the country.

Guatemala’s Congress channel reports on the meeting (in Spanish – see from 2.09)

NIMD’s support to the Forum

NIMD has been supporting the Forum to develop its strategic plan, together with women’s association Alas de Mariposas, and with funding from the Swedish Government.  The Forum also invited UN Women and the Centre for Investigation, Capacitation and Support for Women (Centro de Investigación, Capacitación y Apoyo a la Mujer – CICAM)” to the meeting.

In addition to our support to the strategic plan, NIMD has been helping to strengthen the Forum. We support the Congresswomen as they put forward policies to empower women, giving them a central role in efforts to boost the economy during the COVID-19 crisis.

Among the policies the Forum has put forward, are laws on economic development among women (LEYDEM); gender parity in political parties, the inclusion of indigenous peoples and political violence against women.

First Vice Chair of the Forum, Sofia Hernández: “I feel motivated by the Forum of Women’s MPs because it is a multidisciplinary strategic space for women who take decisions to benefit all women in Guatemala.”

NIMD was also instrumental in organizing the meetings which led to the creation of the Forum of Women MPs, in 2016. Through our support to both the Forum for Women MPs and the Women’s Committee, we have been able to facilitate dialogues between women MPs and Women’s Organizations in the country. By sharing experience and working together to increase their influence, these groups can make a real impact on gender equality in Guatemala.

The creation of the Forum in 2016.

A continued commitment

Susan Batres, Executive Director of NIMD Guatemala kicked off the presentation with some introductory words. She presented NIMD’s work in Guatemala and pledged NIMD’s continued commitment to support and facilitate the work of the forum.

“Women face huge challenges in Guatemala, in different sectors and at all levels. And the current conditions, resulting from the pandemic, are making these challenges even bigger and harder to surmount. That’s why we need the political will of women like you, who hold decision-making roles and have can make steps towards paying off the historical debt that this country owes Guatemalan women.”

Ultimately, the Forum for Women’s MPs is working towards establishing a Ministry for Women’s Rights in Guatemala to support dialogue with women’s civil society organizations. NIMD stands behind this goal. We will continue to support the work of the Forum, as it gains in strength.