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  • JSCA is making a commitment and setting out a roadmap for the next four years in order to contribute to the promotion and construction of justice systems that allow for access to be provided without economic, racial, ethnic or gender differences.
    • The Gender Equality Policy was unanimously approved during last December’s meeting of the JSCA Board of Directors.
  • Click here to download the Gender Equality Policy. (Document in spanish)


Santiago, March 8, 2018

In honor of International Women’s Day, the Justice Studies Center of the Americas (JSCA) officially unveiled its Gender Equality Policy. The policy, which is the first institutional initiative of its kind, sets out a commitment and roadmap for the international agency for the next four years in this area. Through the design of the Gender Equality Policy, JSCA will contribute to the promotion and construction of justice systems that provide access to all without economic, racial, ethnic or gender differences.

In its nearly 20 years of work in the region, JSCA has found that judicial systems do not work equally for everyone. Access to justice is not provided to men and women in the same way. In fact, their rights do not have the same level of effectiveness because they are not recognized or exercised to the same extent or with the same intensity. This situation is due to sex/gender differences in their various manifestations.

Some examples of the subsistence of formal inequalities include Bolivian labor law, which establishes that women are equivalent to minors and are prohibited from working at night. In Chile, women who are in a marital partnership governed by a certain type of division of assets may not manage their own assets because this is handled by the husband with the exception of business assets. Though equal rights for men and women are formally recognized, their exercise is impacted by gender violence. According to UN data from 2013, one out of every two women in Latin America (53%) has endured sexual or physical violence. According to the WHO (November 2016), one in three women at the global level (35%) has suffered physical or sexual violence. Every day, 12 women die in Latin America from femicide (ECLAC, 2016 statistics).

According to the ILO, the mainstreaming of the gender approach does not simply consist of adding a “feminine component” or a “gender equality component” to an existing activity. It is also something more than increasing women’s participation. It concludes that it means incorporating women’s experience, knowledge and interests as well as those of men.”

Furthermore, nearly every country suffers from gender inequality in the high courts.

JSCA Executive Director Jaime Arellano explains that for JSCA, “the administration of justice as part of the public function of a State must manage conflicts without making arbitrary distinctions or engaging in discrimination of any kind, and must promote material equity and equality for all people.”

In order to achieve this goal and effectively fulfill our mission and institutional goals, the decision was made to include the gender perspective in JSCA’s organizational culture and institutional activity. “If we do not do so, when justice systems are reformed or modernized, the differences that men and women experience in them are not considered and justice may only be partially improved, or only improved for one segment of society,” Arellano added.

By setting out this roadmap, JSCA will work to ensure that the studies that the agency develops reveal the differentiated impacts of justice systems on women. By virtue of that data and analysis, it will generate policies and actions that include the gender perspective.  Furthermore, through cooperation and the exchange of experiences and best practices in the region, those that include the gender approach will be strengthened and can be replicated. A third effect of the Gender Equality Policy is expected to be the improvement of justice information so that it reflects and considers the impacts on men and women and relationships produced between them. The Center also plans to make progress towards the recognition and exercise of rights and effective access to justice for women and other individuals whose rights are impacted due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
The Gender Equality Policy establishes a goal for the next four years of increasing gender equality in the justice systems of the region. This shall be reflected in, for example, improved work by justice operators in the recognition, guarantee and protection of the rights of men and women in the region. By introducing the internal practice of ensuring that staff members work with a gender approach, JSCA will be strengthened as a technical agency of the OAS that carries out its work with a gender perspective in the development of access to justice in the region.






Para la UNESCO, “la igualdad no significa que las mujeres y los hombres sean lo mismo, sino que los derechos, las responsabilidades y las oportunidades no dependan del sexo con el que nacieron”.


A dual strategy was adopted to execute the policy: a general policy focused on mainstreaming gender and the promotion of positive actions.

As part of this mainstreaming effort, JSCA held a workshop to increase awareness of gender issues among its staff in 2017 and a training workshop on incorporating the gender perspective in workspaces. Steps will be taken to ensure that consultancies do not include sexist language or images or gender stereotypes and that they anticipate and make explicit differentiated impacts among men and women. Consultants also will be asked to propose measures that could be adopted to ensure that this does not impact one gender more.

In regard to specific policies –which require concrete and temporary tools in order to eliminate discrimination-, JSCA will work to increase the number of women in areas of the Center that present gender gaps. These include the Board of Directors, which is composed of six men and one woman. JSCA also will require that at least 40% of consultancies and training courses be conducted or offered by women. This percentage also will be met for presentations at seminars and events, and the Center will prioritize studies that address topics related to gender and justice.

Through the design of the Gender Equality Policy, JSCA is aligning with regional and international regulations in this area, such as the UN Convention on the Political Rights of Women, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Preamble to the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the Yogyakarta Principles, the Belem do Pará Convention and the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance. It also fulfills the recommendation made in 2012 at the Meeting of Ministers of Justice or Other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA) to incorporate the gender perspective into the development of projects in order to support justice modernization efforts in the region and the requirement to include gender equality in one of the most far-reaching projects that JSCA is currently developing, “Improving Access to Civil Justice in Latin America and the Caribbean,” with Global Affairs Canada.

The Gender Equality Policy was developed by a team of JSCA staff members coordinated by researcher Lorena Espinosa that included Marco Fandiño, María Jesús Valenzuela and Constanza Gigena, with the support of consultant Macarena Bravo.

The Gender Equality Policy is accompanied by a Strategic Plan, which will be published in the next few days on our Website and social media.

Click here to download the Gender Equality Policy. (Document in spanish)


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