Labor market: women in Latin America

The development of the region is essential to close the gap in the labor force 

Labor market: women in Latin America

It is a reality that there are socioeconomic gaps between men and women. For this reason, over decades women have tried to empower themselves to have access to the same opportunities that men have. These opportunities include access to education, appropriation of ICT, employment, entrepreneurship and access to the public sphere. One of the most visible gaps is evidenced in the employment field, especially because of stereotypes that define women as home-caretakers and confine them to the private sphere. Therefore, two questions arise: What have governments done in Latin America to promote equality in access to paid employment? Has it been efficient?

Government actions

According to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 11% of women in the world have a lower salary than men. Furthermore, 23% of mothers are less likely to be contracted that fathers. OECD also shows that 33% of women are part of the central government and 29% are part of the congress. In the case of Latin America, the average access to public employment is 12% and 52% of women have this benefit. However, this number is still small compared to the options that men have with 84%.

These numbers have been a call of attention for governments and society to promote the participation of women as a part of development in the public sector and to be considered as decision makers. Most of the countries, except for Peru, have implemented policies so that the salary is equitable between men and women. Also, the majority of the governments have used campaigns and the Ministries of Labor and Employment as mechanisms to guarantee the right to decent and remunerated work.

This has allowed women to have more opportunities in the labor market during the last five years. However, there are currently two major challenges: first, of the 52% of employed women, approximately 70% are in low productivity positions. The situation must be adjusted because managerial jobs, both at the private and public sphere, are largely performed by men. Second, the gaps in this employment area still continued. In fact, during the last three years, it remains at 52%. This reaffirms the need to expand the coverage to raise this percentage and thereby efficiently close the existing gap.

It is important to specify the incidence of household chores in the movement of the employment indicator, especially, because the task has been traditionally assigned to women. In this sense, improvement for women work conditions should not correspond only to governments; on the contrary, it has to start at home where men should be active members of the family and of the house hold. By doing so, thereby, possibilities for women in the workplace will increase.

 Latin American Post | Tatiana Restrepo

Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza

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