Monday, May 14, 2012

First Lady of El Salvador Vanda Pignato

Earlier this month, USAID published an interview with El Salvador's First Lady, Vanda Pignato, who also holds the position Secretary of Social Inclusion. Much of her work has focused on improving the lot of women in her country. Her signature project has been "Ciudad Mujer" which offers women one-stop access to healthcare, education, job training, childcare, physical and sexual abuse treatment, and other services. It aims to empower women by teaching them about their rights and providing a safe space where they can receive support and assistance. Here is the first part of the interview:

Q.  First Lady, I know you are very passionate about women’s rights. How are you raising the profile of this issue in El Salvador?
A.  As Secretary for Social Inclusion, one of the main goals during my mandate is to promote public policies based on a human rights approach to ensure the realization, respect and guaranty of rights of historically excluded populations. Women make up over half of the population in El Salvadorand have been excluded from access to governmental services, as these were designed without a gender specific focus. With this in mind, the idea to create a center specifically for women to promote and enhance their fundamental human rights became an issue that needed to be addressed. Ciudad Mujer is a program that has raised awareness of the invisibility women have had when it comes to accessing state services, and has begun to change the model of government by integrating services and having a gender based approach. But what is most important is that Ciudad Mujer is changing the lives of thousands of women and they have begun to recognize themselves as right holders.
You can read the rest of the interview here.

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