Germany

UNIDAS: Together for Women’s Rights and Democracy

The Unidas network links women from Latin America, the Caribbean and Germany. Its objective is to strengthen women’s political participation and their rights

December 10th, 2023
Editorial, News from Berlin
20231210 UNIDAS.jpg

The Unidas network links women from Latin America, the Caribbean and Germany. Its objective is to strengthen women’s political participation and their rights.

Democracy is sustained by participation. In particular, this means women having an equal say in political decision-making. With the Unidas network, we link up strong women and women’s movements in Latin America, the Caribbean and Germany to bolster them in their work for equality and women’s rights.

National and supraregional network meetings and workshops are organised and support is given to specific projects.

This isn’t about excluding, but about including people. This isn’t a question of hearing fewer voices, but MORE voices – all the voices of society.

After all, it cannot be healthy for any country, economy or society if half of the population are unable to have their say as equals.

The fight for equality is therefore in the best interests of each and every society. We must wage it together, in Germany and in Latin America and the Caribbean – with all people, regardless of their gender.

- Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock

Every year, we also organise a Unidas Week where female decision-makers, activists and politicians from Latin America, the Caribbean and Germany meet to intensify cooperation for women’s rights and democracy and develop joint projects. One topic on the agenda is the role of women in conflicts and conflict prevention, as well as the fight against climate change. Because it is clear that women are particularly affected by conflicts and climate change, but equally that they can play a particular part in actively improving matters, if they are allowed to. The discussions during Unidas Week also focus on violence against women and its prevention, as well as the role of the judicial sector in ensuring that women can exercise the rights guaranteed to them.

Unidas Prize for Women’s Rights and Democracy

As part of the 2023 Unidas Week, which took place from 6 to 8 June 2023 in Cali, Colombia, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock presented the Unidas Prize for Women’s Rights and Democracy to Francia Márquez, the Vice President of Colombia.

During the 2023 Unidas Week, the Unidas Prize for Women’s Rights and Democracy was presented for the second time, to Colombian Vice President Francia Márquez© picture alliance/dpa | Annette Riedl

Francia Márquez became an activist at an early age to fight environmental crime and environmental destruction. When the Ovejas river was set to be diverted to make way for a hydropower project, she led protests together with her community and prevented what would have been a heavy blow for the entire region. As an Afro-Colombian woman from the Pacific region, Francia Márquez embodies the hope of change for many marginalised groups in Colombia. At the same time, however, she faces frequent aggression and threats from her political opponents. With her bold, tenacious and successful work, she motivates and inspires a great many people and perfectly demonstrates the spirit of the Unidas network, to which she belongs. Francia Márquez was appointed Vice President of Colombia in 2022 and charged with establishing the Ministry of Equality and Equity.

You embody what this prize and this network is all about. We are fighting for equality together, regardless of gender, regardless of where we come from.

- Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock

The prize was awarded for the first time in 2021, to the movement #NiUnaMenos. After serious cases of violence against women and femicide came to light in 2015, thousands of people took to the streets in Argentina and later across the region to protest against violence against women. This marked the birth of the movement #NiUnaMenos (“not one fewer”). What began with a tweet and was driven forward by a group of female journalists has now become one of the world’s largest and best-known movements against the oppression of women.

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The Unidas women’s network is at the heart of the Federal Foreign Office’s Latin America and Caribbean initiative. Unidas aims to ensure the equal participation of women in politics, society, culture, the media, science, academia and business. National and supraregional network meetings and workshops are organised and support is given to specific projects. The annual presentation of the Unidas Prize is a particularly visible instrument to honour outstanding commitment to women’s rights and democracy. Moreover, thanks to its close ties with the Federal Foreign Office, Unidas is a contribution to feminist foreign policy.

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News from Berlin