MARCH 8, 2023

International Women’s Day: on this 8M, the Government has announced a series of measures and benefits for Chilean women

Nurseries for Chile, low-cost contraceptives, urinary incontinence surgeries for women, and a bill on the right to a life free of violence. These are just a small number of the measures announced. 

On International Women’s Day, Chile’s President, Gabriel Boric, and Women and Gender Equity Minister, Antonia Orellana, presented a series of measures that will allow the country to effectively advance towards a Chile for Everyone. They were accompanied by the entire ministerial cabinet. 

National Assets Minister, Javiera Toro, also awarded property titles to women from vulnerable sectors, a benefit that will promote their economic autonomy and, if necessary, break with cycles of gender violence. The awarding of titles to vulnerable women will be expanded through the gender mainstreaming fund. 

Find out about the measures announced by the Women and Gender Equity Ministry below: 

Nurseries for Chile (Sala Cuna para Chile): To achieve economic autonomy for women, as a society we must ensure that working mothers can do so with the peace of mind that their sons and daughters are will cared for and educated. Nurseries for Chile is an initiative that seeks to continue supporting women by legally standardizing the parents’ right to a nursery for their children, regardless of the size of the company they work for. The initiative also includes independent workers and those who work from home. This proposal includes initiatives that have been presented previously, which would now be financed through the Tax Reform. It also incorporates the principles of gender equality and co-responsibility. This initiative integrates dialogue with the various sectors involved for the consecration of the rights of women and children. 

Low-cost contraceptives: Within the framework of the Supply Center (CENABAST) Law, the Health Ministry will incorporate a list of 27 contraceptives that participating pharmacies can purchase and sell at low cost, thus reducing people’s spending on medicines. The 27 contraceptives include those administered orally and vaginally, and represent 60% of the current demand. They will be incorporated progressively, starting with six products that are already available, until including the complete list by late 2023. In some cases, this will generate a price decrease of up to 80%, which could translate into savings of $200,000 Chilean pesos (US$250) per year. 

1,000 urinary incontinence surgeries for women: Stress urinary incontinence affects thousands of women in Chile, especially the elderly. This problem is suffered in silence and has a direct impact on well-being and quality of life. Many of those that suffer require surgical intervention; in fact, 2,279 women are currently waiting for surgery to resolve stress incontinence. To expedite the waiting time, the Health Ministry will increase surgical availability in public hospitals by 1,000 additional surgeries. 30% of these will be performed in the second quarter of 2023 and 70% during the rest of the year. 

Bill on the right to a life free of violence on the public security agenda: The Interior and Public Security Ministry and the Women and Gender Equity Ministry will together process this project as quickly as possible, so that it can be dispatched in the first semester of the year. It is hoped that it will finally become law following seven years of processing. This project shows the will of this government to address and combat violence against women from an intersectoral perspective that is connected to the security agenda, one of the priority issues for citizens. 

Gender Mainstreaming Fund: The Government, through the Budget Directorate (DIPRES), has created the Gender Mainstreaming Fund. It is a budget program worth over $3 billion Chilean pesos (US$3,842,082), destined to finance the initiatives of different public entities to specifically improve the lives of women. The Women and Gender Equity Ministry will be in charge of monitoring. 

Some of the projects to be financed are: 

Women entrepreneurs from Biobío and Magallanes to enter green hydrogen projects: This $60,000,000 initiative (US$74,400) seeks to integrate women entrepreneurs into the development of the green hydrogen industry. Work will focus on their potential, in addition to activities related to the development of the ecosystem in each region. The initiative will include a gender focus, in alliance with the two regions’ Transforma Program. This project will be carried out by the Economy, Development and Tourism Ministry. 

Training of rural women from Chiloé as guardians of the traditional seeds of their territories: As a measure to strengthen the economic autonomy of rural women, a network of seed keepers and multipliers of traditional varieties from Chiloé will be formed, in order for there to be permanent availability of seeds. Seed orchards managed by women will be established, as well as community seed banks, in order to maintain the food and cultural diversity of rural smallholder families. This project will be carried out by the Agriculture Ministry. 

Increase of women leaders in the energy industry: This is a public-private initiative that will include a program to strengthen the adaptive capacities of women in performing their professional duties throughout the country. It will focus on developing their skills to assume leadership and management positions, providing the energy industry with additional job profiles to be able to achieve gender parity. It will also strengthen their knowledge to face the challenges of the sector as part of the country’s energy transition. This project will be carried out by the Energy Ministry.

Monetary subsidy for heads of households to guarantee digital connectivity: To reduce the digital gap between men and women, a monetary subsidy will be provided to women-headed households aimed at financing a fixed internet service. The technical characteristics of the service should allow occupants to at least hold video calls and use tools linked to entrepreneurship. A connection device will be provided to households in order to ensure that those living in vulnerable communities in Chile can enjoy the benefits of the Internet. This project will be carried out by the Transport and Telecommunications Ministry. 

Chilean women who experience gender violence abroad will be provided with psychological and legal support: The Foreign Affairs Ministry will improve the provision of consular services to Chilean women who have been victims of gender violence abroad. This will include initial reception, psychosocial legal services and accompaniment in critical cases, whether the victim returns to Chile or not. They will be supported by professionals such as psychologists, lawyers and social workers, who will also make a local-level referral where possible. The program is expected to provide coverage to 120 women in its first year.