Lords Questions: International Women's Day

Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen: To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to support Latin American Governments in improving the position of women in their countries.

Lord Brett:The Department for International Development is providing £17 million over three years, 2008-11, to civil society organisations to address inequality and poverty in 14 Latin American countries. This work specifically aims to promote women's inclusion in decision-making and to tackle gender discrimination by working with women and men. Women's rights form an important part of the UK's bilateral dialogue with Latin American Governments.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes:My Lords, is the Minister aware that it is not just a question of this Government helping other Governments, but of the NGOs which are based in this country-in the past I was chairman of Plan International-doing a great deal to help in these countries? Above all, apart from helping with water supplies and various other things, education for girls is now the prime object of Plan, and education for women is surely the thing that will ensure the future………………

….Lord Brett: The noble Baroness is absolutely right. That is why we are supporting, through DfID, a Latin American partnership programme arrangement, which is a partnership between DfID and 12 UK NGOs. Each of these receives £1.4 million and they are working in 14 countries on the issues of accountability, democracy and education. The countries they are working in are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela and they are all the names you would expect: ActionAid; CAFOD; CARE International; Christian Aid; HelpAge International; International HIV/AIDS Alliance; Oxfam GB; Plan UK; Progressio; Save the Children and World Vision.

Those are the partnerships we need, together with partnerships with Governments, and as soon as possible we should be celebrating the day-though I suspect it will not be in the next few years-when we are able to say that we have achieved the ends to which the whole House, I think, has today been united.