Legislative committee OKs to new ministry of gender equality

A legislative committee has given approval to a bill that would create a ministry of equality of gender. The measure would allow the president to appoint a minister to this new entity.

Currently the country has 22 ministries because Casa Presidencial counts the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo as one and has divided the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública into two. Also counted as a ministry of sports is the Instituto Costarricense del Deporte y la Recreación because the ministry has not been created officially.

The purpose of the new gender bill is to strengthen the Instituto Nacional de la Mujer. The bill calls it the platform for the new ministry.

The Spanish title of the new entity would be the Ministerio de Igualdad y Equidad de Género. A summary of the bill prepared by the legislative staff notes that creating such a ministry is consistent with several agreements with the United Nations.

However staffers wondered why a ministry of gender equality would be created by a bill that called for aministra to be appointed. All other ministries are listed as headed by a ministro in the law even if the person holding the position is a woman. The bill seems to expect that women always will be appointed to the post.

The introduction to the bill says that the main concerns will be woman and female children. There is no mention of males.

Staffers also wondered about the legality of combining a ministry that reports to the president with an autonomous institute, which is what the Instituto Nacional de la Mujer is.

A final text of the bill is not available to see if the committee, the Comisión Permanente Especial de La Mujer, addressed these points that were raised by staffers.

The objective of the new ministry, according to the legal summary is to promote the incorporation of the prospective of gender in public institutions and in private ones of the country.

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