Ecuador: International Congress of Latin American Women

2

I’ve recently been to Ecuador representing the Italian Senate and I’ve really had an amazing life experience being given the chance to meet with many great people.

It is not easy to sum up everything that occurred during these days of our mission …

Let me begin by considering that, over the past years, Latin America has increasingly become a region full of opportunities.

I am proud to say that we share a long history of friendship and cultural ties with this part of the world.

Above all, the International Congress of Latin American Women, held in Guayaquil, represented a great opportunity to share ideas and thoughts about gender equality and women’s empowerment in the region.

Moreover, in both Guayaquil and Quito, I had meaningful and constructive meetings with top-level institutional actors and political leaders.

I would just like to mention Ms Vicuña (Vice President of Ecuador), Mr Valencia (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Ms Cabezas (President of the National Assembly) and Esther Cuesta (President of the Foreign Affairs Committee) as well as Mr Guillermo Lasso and Ms Poly Ugarte.

I emphasize that, throughout all these gatherings, I perceived the most genuine willingness to further enhance our bilateral cooperation in key areas of common interest.

Given that, I was truly impressed by the active role played by Ecuadorian women in politics.

I do believe that Ecuador is a positive example in terms of women’s empowerment and political activism and this is not destiny or “fate” … This is the result of a path leading to democratic processes of political and social change.

In this context, it is important to spend a few words talking about Ecuadorian legal reform in the field of women’s rights and measures taken to address gender–based violence.

Indeed, the recent Ley orgánica integral para prevenir y erradicar la violencia contra las mujeresrepresents a significant step forward in building a better society, being deeply committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against women.

Furthermore, I would like to express a few thoughts on the Constitutionof this Country.

I was really struck by the originality of the Ecuadorian Constitution for many reasons, above all, the relevance attributed to societal and environmental issues.

In particular, I am referring to the introduction of specific and codified rights held by Nature, the so-called “Pacha Mama”.

This revolutionary legal phenomenon relies on the idea that Nature is a rights-bearing entity, not just property or a resource to be exploited …

Moreover, in my view, it is impossible not to see the connection between women and Nature within the Great Mother archetype.

I have always thought that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and, somehow, this paradigm shift towards a wiser vision of life both encourages and inspires me.

Let me make a joke:  If Mr. Renzi had considered any of these wider, more communal aspects when putting forward his failed constitutional reform, perhaps he would have been more successful.

I would like to conclude by saying that, in Italy as well as in the European region as a whole, we need to seriously take the idea of advocating for formally recognised rights of Nature into closer consideration.

So … I hope to make it back to Ecuador soon!