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  • President Morales at the first meeting of the Women's Cabinet in La Paz, Bolivia, Mar. 8, 2019.

    President Morales at the first meeting of the Women's Cabinet in La Paz, Bolivia, Mar. 8, 2019. | Photo: Twitter / @evoespueblo

Published 9 March 2019

Among the decisions are the creation of gender-violence specialized agencies and a cellphone-based warning system about domestic violence.

During the International Women's Day commemoration in La Paz along with different representatives of women rights groups, President Evo Morales announced Friday a package of measures to promote gender equality and curb violence against women.

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"A high number of femicides is unacceptable in Bolivia. We face a tough battle. In 2018 there were 128 femicides... [however] there are very few sentences up to now," Morales lamented.

Among the measures to foster women’s rights, the government will establish more legal protections for part-time jobs, a decision which allows parents to spend more time at home without affecting their income.

"We will formalize part-time jobs so that men and women can attend their home and work under the protection of the law," President Morales said and announced another regulation allowing the right to a four-hour workday, a benefit which could be used by either a woman or her partner.

Morales also said that his government will present a bill to modify criminal definitions of rape and homicide, promote reorganization of courts and allow feminist groups to accompany criminal proceedings .

He also announced the implementation of an "early warning system" to report violence cases through cell phones. In order to prevent violence against women, the Bolivian government will adjust the educational curriculum and provide training to teachers.

Morales also proposed review to the wage gaps between men and women in the private sector, a task which the new Plurinational Service for Women body (SPM) will undertake.

This new institution, which was created at the first session of the Special Cabinet for Fighting Violence against Women and Children, is expected to coordinate its actions directly with the president's office, the vice presidency and the ministry of justice.

One of SPM's first tasks is to carry out comprehensive nation-wide research in order to define policy measures aimed at promoting "equal pay for equal work."

"A call on media to join the fight against violence against women."

"Men should not earn more than women for doing the same work,” Bolivia's President said and stressed that “there must be an universal, equal salary.” In addition, the Plurinational Service has to define a strategy to curb Bolivia's high teen pregnancy rate, which is above the world average.

Morales also announced an executive decree for the creation of the Special Force to Fight Violence (FELCV).

Finally, President Morales called for stopping violence and discrimination against Indigenous women.

"In rural areas, women are the most sacrificed, humiliated and punished persons. Our responsibility is to end that," he said and commented that his administration has promoted important social and cultural transformations, which still need to be concretized through appropriate regulations.

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