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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senators file bill to eliminate ‘gender perspective’ from women’s advocate law

Sen. Marially González Huertas

By The Star Staff

Sens. Joanne Rodríguez Veve and Marially González Huertas filed a bill Monday to eliminate from Law 20 of 2001, the law that created the Office of the Women’s Advocate, “the imposition of analysis with a gender perspective” as part of the criteria for evaluating nominees for women’s advocate.

In addition, the measure seeks to amend the statute to remove the Advisory Council of the Office of the Women’s Advocate, which has been inoperative for several years.

“Its elimination frees the office from compliance with a requirement that has been inoperative for years and that, if implemented by the mere fact of complying with the provisions of the law, required the allocation of more funds for an activity that does not represent a direct provision of services,” Rodríguez Veve said in a written statement.

The council, composed of seven members who are supposed to be appointed by the governor, has among its functions “to advise the Office of the Women’s Advocate on all matters relating to women in all spheres of social, political, economic and cultural life, as well as on the situation of discrimination, oppression or marginalization of women.”

According to the bill authored by the senators from the Dignity Project and the Popular Democratic Party, respectively, “Law 20 of 2001 establishes limiting and exclusive parameters for the selection of the Women’s Advocate, by imposing analysis with a gender perspective as the only approach to direct the work of the person appointed to that position.”

“This not only limits the power of the appointing authority when evaluating the person to be appointed to that position but, in turn, unjustifiably excludes [many] women who could be considered for that position,” the legislation reads. “The appointee to this position must be a woman of recognized professional capacity and independence of criteria, who has distinguished herself by her commitment to the defense of women’s rights in the fight for the elimination of all manifestations of oppression, marginalization and discrimination, by her respect for differences, and who is willing to make a continuous analysis of the situation of women from a gender perspective.”

The bill amends Article 2 (c) to eliminate the definition of the advisory council; amends its Article 4 in relation to the criteria to be taken into consideration by the governor for the appointment of the Women’s Advocate; and repeals Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Law on the Advisory Council of the Office of the Women Advocate.

“I trust that this bill will free the Office of the Women’s Advocate from the ideological kidnapping in which it finds itself, so that all women qualified to hold the position of advocate can be considered on equal terms,” Rodríguez Veve. “I hope that the bill presented gives us the opportunity to begin a selection process that is inclusive and from which all the women who, through the direction of that office, wish to contribute their knowledge are evaluated.”

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