· To ensure that we have a better, more democratic nation, greater freedom, with full respect for freedom of expression and opportunities for growth and personal fulfillment, it is essential to have women’s participation and involvement, he said.

· We still have much to achieve, but if we prioritize the commitment and political will to drive changes and transformations, it will be possible to achieve a Mexico with greater equality between men and women, he said.

· He instructed all federal agencies to be certified by the Mexican Norm for Labor Equality and Non-Discrimination as soon as possible. We cannot promote a rule which the government itself is not the first to endorse and implement, he said.

The president led the first public session of the National System for Equality between Men and Women.

As he led the first public session of the National System for Equality between Men and Women, President Enrique Peña Nieto said today that, with women’s participation, “XXI century Mexico will become a freer nation with greater development and prosperity.”

He said that, as a country, over the past 25 or 30 years Mexico, “Has undergone a rapid, profound change in favor of a positive transformation”. Our country, he continued, “Has been making progress, growing and taken a path that leads it on an upward path towards further development”.

He explained that in order to ensure that we have a better, more democratic nation, with more freedom in which freedom of expression and what every Mexican citizen thinks is fully respected, where there are opportunities for growth and personal fulfillment, “There can be no doubt, and I am therefore fully and widely convinced of this, that women’s participation and involvement is crucial”.

The president said that much remains to be done, “But it is possible, if we prioritize the commitment and political to promote changes and transformations, to achieve a Mexico with greater equality between men and women”.

He said that in recent years there have been advances in this area, and highlighted some of them:

The Political Electoral Reform, which, he said, empowers women, and forces political parties to ensure that half its candidacies for delegates, at both the state and federal level, are for women.

“The Mexican Norm for Fair Employment and Non Discrimination,” which, he added, “Promotes labor inclusion, equal pay and recruitment opportunities”.

He said that specific centers of justice have been created for women in 21 states; 29 of these centers have already been built and are expressly devoted to serving women.

He explained that the Fulltime Schools Program is a great help to women, many of whom are the sole providers in their homes, so that, “They can have somewhere to offload part of the responsibility of looking after their children, as well as the opportunity to know that they are being given regular meals there”.

The president said that the National Strategy to Prevent Teen Pregnancy has been launched, and that 182,000 pink rooms have been built, additional rooms in houses, designed for the women in each household, to prevent overcrowding.

In the PROSPERA program, he said, “We guarantee an income, food and health for beneficiary families: 6.2 million families in our country”.

President Peña Nieto said that in Mexico there are also challenges as regards combating violence and gender discrimination. “It is a fact that today, there are women who are victims of violence and sexual harassment, which is a task all orders of government must work on to prevent and combat; it takes place on the street and in work places,” he said.

He instructed members of his Cabinet:

FIRST: We were the promoters and creators of Mexican Norm for Labor Equality and Non-Discrimination. We must therefore, “be the first to enforce it in government agencies. Therefore, the first instruction I give the whole Cabinet, particularly the Interior Secretary, is to ensure that all federal agencies are certified by the Mexican Norm for Labor Equality and Non-Discrimination as soon as possible. We cannot promote a rule which the government itself is not the first to endorse and implement”.

SECOND: “Federal agencies must review their programs and operating rules to include the gender perspective, according to the equality guidelines recently published by INMUJERES (National Institute for Women)”.

THIRD: “The Interior Secretariat, the Public Administration Secretariat and the National Institute for Women must publish the Unified Protocol for the Prevention, Care and Punishment of Sexual Harassment of the Federal Public Administration, and in compliance with the General Act on Equality between Men and Women, design special new measures and affirmative actions to reverse the historical conditions of disadvantage for girls and women in Mexico.

The president explained that these actions refer to, “The need to provide more space and greater opportunities and increase support for women to eliminate the inequality between women and men”. And in various areas of public life, affirmative action must be taken to provide greater support for women”.

The president thanked the state governors, “For having signed the Mexican Norm for Labor Equality and Non-Discrimination, the declaration for equality between men and women, and the commitment each government has made”.

PRESIDENT PEÑA NIETO HAS TAKEN THE ISSUE OF EQUALITY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN OUT OF THE CORNER AND PUT IT AT THE CENTER OF THE NATIONAL AGENDA: REBECA GRYNSPAN MAYUFIS

Ibero-American General Secretary (SEGIB) Rebeca Grynspan Mayufis thanked President Peña Nieto for leading the session of the National System for Equality between Men and Women. She said, “This is not a minor feat, it is a crucial feat because it allows us to take the issue of equality between men and women out of the corner and put it at the center of the national agenda, which is where it should be”.

“It helps us take it out of the corner and stop only seeing women as a vulnerable group. In fact, we are not a vulnerable group, we are a group that has been undermined, whose rights to contribute to being agents of change in society have not been respected as they should be,” she said.

It helps us, she added, “to put it at the center of the national agenda and in the center of society: It helps us to take it off the women's agenda and put it on the agenda of society as a whole”.

She said that, “Over time, Mexico has built a very impressive institutional and regulatory scaffolding,” in the legal framework and with its programs.  “You were also a pioneer when you gave conditional cash transfers to women; when you established scholarship programs in education and when you established the National System for Equality between Men and Women today”. President Peña Nieto, “Has taken another step by putting Mexico at the forefront of all of Latin America,” she said.

MEXICO’S RECENT ACTIONS SHOW THAT WE CAN ASPIRE TO A MORE EGALITARIAN COUNTRY: OECD

Chief of Staff of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), G20 sherpa and Special Counsellor to the Secretary-General Gabriela Ramos Patiño said that given their socioeconomic status, size and potential, the situation of women in Mexico is unacceptable.

She said that, “Women are the most underused resource in Mexico. Increasing their economic empowerment would give us several points in the GDP in a context of low growth and, especially, given the effort that you have made in girls’ education of girls, the progress Mexican women have achieved in schooling is very important”.

She said that in, “Policy decisions and specific actions, Mexico has made very significant progress” and emphasized that the regulatory framework of the country, “is a very solid foundation. Recent actions show that we can aspire to a more egalitarian country,” she concluded.

ACHIEVING EQUALITY IS a priority; WITHOUT IT WE CANNOT SPEAK OF GENUINE ENFORCEMENT AND RESPECT FOR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS: Luis Raúl González Pérez

President of the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) Luis Raúl González Pérez said that, “Within the complex problems facing our country regarding human rights, achieving equality between men and women is a priority, since without it we cannot speak of the true enforcement and respect for fundamental rights, or consolidate the humanistic culture to which we aspire as the basis of our everyday coexistence”.

“In this context,” he stressed, “The CNDH reiterates its commitment to continue working closely with each and every one of the Mexican state authorities and agencies and civil society”.

González Pérez explained that, “The National System for Equality between Women and Men was established as a mechanism that will be the linchpin of what should be a genuine national commitment to equality, which seeks and achieves the same in all areas, including economic, political and civil spheres, by eliminating discrimination and stereotypes based on gender, and promoting access to and the effective enjoyment of rights by all people”.

He urged people to work together for equality to make it a reality, and, “To ensure that what is laid down in the rules finds an objective reflection in our everyday lives, so that no one else is assaulted, attacked or discriminated against because of their gender, and so that a person’s gender does not determine or condition the recognition and exercise of their rights”.

THE COMMITMENT PRESIDENT PEÑA NIETO HAS ASSUMED TO THE WOMEN AND GIRLS OF OUR COUNTRY SENDS A STRONG MESSAGE ABOUT EQUALITY: INMUJERES

Lorena Cruz Sánchez, President of INMUJERES, said that, “Substantive equality means equality in facts, the same opportunities and benefits so that the girls and women of this country can live without discrimination and violence, exercising their human rights and in conditions that allow them to achieve what they dream of doing”.

“The commitment that you, Mr. President, have assumed towards the women and girls of our country creates a strong message in favor of equality,” she said, while hailing the fact that this is the first time a president has led the National System for Equality between Men and Women.

She said that the president’s initiative to raise equality to the constitutional level represented a real turning point for Mexico in the third millennium and, referring to the recent elections, said that, “The inclusion of the principle of equality for the candidacies for the federal Congress and state has borne fruit in female participation, putting Mexico in second place among OECD countries”.

INMUJERES, she reported, has already signed specific agreements with each of the states to establish a working agenda that establishes clear commitments for governors regarding the coordination of this national policy in the states.

A few months ago, she continued, “The Mexican Norm for Work Equality and Non-Discrimination, which seeks to eradicate all these discriminatory practices that violate the human rights of women in the workplace, was published”.

She said that there has also been a substantive change in public policy regarding educational scholarships programs, and said that the government, though broad inter-agency coordination, has implemented the National Strategy to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

THE GOVERNMENT AND SOCIETY HAS GIVEN A GREAT IMPETUS TO THE VISION AND ACTION TO EMPOWER WOMEN: CONAGO

Rolando Zapata Bello, Governor of Yucatán and President of the Commission for Gender Equality of the National Governors’ Conference (CONAGO), recognized, “The enormous boost our government and society as a whole has given the vision, and ultimately the action for women’s empowerment”.

This, he continued, “has been achieved through the strengthening of the National System for Equality between Women and Men, which is undoubtedly the instrument that aligns all our efforts”.

He said, “It is a reality that inequality persists, which is why Mexican states assume that we have very clear challenges and tasks to address.” He said that in the states, particular attention has been paid to the specific instruction issued on November 25 by President Peña Nieto in the sense of promoting programs, actions and strategies that will make it possible to strengthen women’s productive and entrepreneurial skills.

GIVING MEN AND WOMEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO ACHIEVE THEIR DEVELOPMENT WILL ENSURE THE COUNTRY’S INTEGRAL DEVELOPMENT WITH EQUALITY: BENEFICIARY

Diana Guadalupe Ruiz Arriola, a beneficiary of Equality programs, said that thanks to the government, many young people are now professionals and that women like her receive a higher scholarship than men; “Giving men and women the opportunity to achieve their development means allowing the country’s full development with equality,” she said.

He stressed that thanks to the support given to her by the government through the grants she was received, she was given the tool to complete her high school studies. With this support, “Many young people have the opportunity to continue with our studies at a higher level, rather than dropping out due to lack of money”.

Finally, she hoped that the government and its partners would continue to create or improve programs, “To support millions of young students so that every day we progress and become better professionally in the future”.