/** reg.guatemala: 147.0 **/
Women's Forum is Official
Cerigua Weekly Briefs, No.45, 20 November 1997
Guatemala City, November 13. Guatemalan women took another step towards equality and control over their collective futures yesterday with the official inauguration of the National Women's Forum.
In the grand setting of the National Palace some thousand women from the country's 22 departments -- many wearing their traditional indigenous dress -- gathered for the event.
Created under the 1996 peace accords, the forum is responsible for developing programs which will realize government pledges made in the agreements. It will also performs the watchdog role of seeing that those proposals are subsequently implemented.
"The women's forum is a kernel of corn that will produce harvests," declared Marisol Chavez from the Coalition of Mayan Peoples Organizations (COPMAGUA).
Today the forum's 250 delegates held its first general assembly to design a timetable for the organization's work. The assembly, which represents and will work among the country's 24 linguistic groups, will be a channel through which women across the country can voice their ideas.
The topics of education and healthcare will be the first issues tackled through January. Later the forum will move to ideas on political participation and civic education and lastly to aspects of economic development.
"The forum is important as it will attend to the problem of discrimination and give women a voice," added Maria Candelaria Mejia from the Multiethnic Assembly of Guatemala province.
The work of the group will continue officially until the year 2000.
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