Countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women have access to equal rights and opportunities. Peace will only be possible when personal safety is guaranteed, when there is social and political inclusion, and when equal access to justice is a reality. The construction of a society where human rights are protected should be a priority in the 2018 agenda.
The Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo have recently presented a new global index ranking of 153 countries regarding the condition of women and their level of empowerment. This is the first gender index to document and highlight the role of women in keeping peace and security. It is focused on the level of peace and prosperity in relation to equal rights and opportunities for women.
The index is based on 3 basic principles considered necessary for well-being:
1. Inclusion: This dimension measures the level of inclusion of women in financing, social, and political areas, based on women’s achievements in education, employment, and parliamentary representation, as well as their access to cellphones and financial services.
2. Justice: This dimension focuses on formal laws and informal discrimination.
3. Security is measured at three levels: family, community, and societies.
The ranking aims to identify achievements or shortcomings within these three dimensions to lay the foundation for analysis and action plans at local, regional and international levels.
In the first edition of the WPS Index, Iceland holds first place worldwide. Countries afflicted by war, such as Afghanistan and Syria lie at the bottom of the ranking. Thirty countries performed consistently well on all three key indicators; suggesting a positive relationship. Unfortunately, many other countries exhibited patterns of unbalanced achievement. Latin America, for example, ranked well on justice but performed poorly on inclusion. The United States ranks 22 overall, but lower on the security dimension, as a result of high rates of intimate partner violence.
A very interesting finding was the relationship between elevated levels of insecurity at home, and safety issues in the community. Furthermore, per capita income is not determinant for countries to rank high positions on the index.
Systematic change is crucial for the achievement of fair, peaceful and safe societies. All sectors must take responsibility towards building a more equitable world. The WPS Index is a useful tool for evaluating progress and setting new goals.
As 2018 approaches, let us join efforts in the pursuit of gender equality and women’s empowerment. We must recognize girls and women as powerful architects of change. By doing so, our world will become a better place for everyone for we will unlock the chains of injustice, insecurity and discrimination.
Let’s take inspiration on nations who have accomplished inclusive, fair living standards for everyone. It is time to recognize the strength, vision and effort of women who are changing the world.
Angélica Fuentes, Founder Equal Invest
Angélica Fuentes is a Latin American businesswoman and impact investor, who has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of Mexico’s most influential women.
Ms. Fuentes was appointed CEO of Grupo Imperial in 1992 and quickly positioned the company as a top player in Northern Mexico’s energy sector. Under her leadership, Grupo Imperial’s annual growth rate increased from 5% in 1992 to 9.5% in 2005. Ms. Fuentes served as President of the Business Energy Network of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement (APEC) from 2002 to 2004, and as President of the Mexican Natural Gas Association from 1996 to 2000. From 2007 to 2015, she served as CEO of Grupo Omnilife-Angelissima-Chivas. Under her leadership, the company became one of the top 100 corporations in Mexico.
Throughout her career, Ms. Fuentes has dedicated significant time and resources to NGOs, international organizations and professional groups that support the cause of women. She participated in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Parity Programme, and led the Mexican Gender Parity Taskforce. She currently serves on Secretary Clinton’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership; is member of the Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council of UN Women; is a Global Advocate for the Girl Up Campaign, a United Nations Foundation program; co-chairs the PVBLIC LATAM regional platform; is member of the Latin American Program Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center; and is member of the Global Dignity’s International Council of Advisors.
Her work in this field has been recognized by numerous honors and awards. In 2015, UN Women gave her the Women’s Empowerment Principles CEO Leadership Award; she was the first female CEO to receive this award for championing gender equality in the private sector. In 2016, PVBLIC Foundation, Ismael Cala Foundation, and the United Nations gave her the award for Latin Woman Empowerment. In 2017, she received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award from The Maestro Cares Foundation.
Gender equality, women empowerment and the eradication of poverty have always been a priority in all her endeavors. In 2014, she established the Angelica Fuentes Foundation. In 2016, she founded A Complete and The Imperative Fund. In 2017, she founded Equal Invest, The Beauty Station and A Complete Journey.