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More women in Latin America are working, but gender gap persists: UN

More women in Latin America are working, but gender gap persists: UN

More women are entering the workforce across Latin America, with an increase in 11 per cent in the last 30 years, putting the region ahead of the curve when it comes to growth in female labour force participation, according to new data published by the United Nations.

The research gathered jointly by the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), on Monday spotlights the array of factors influencing women’s labour participation in the region, while highlighting the social and economic benefits of women in the workforce.

Women’s access to paid opportunities, and the narrowing of gender gaps are “crucial for growth, equality and poverty reduction in the region,” the authors highlight in the new study.

Despite a closing disparity between the number of working men versus women, the new figures demonstrate that the gap between women’s labour participation versus that of men still amounts to more than 25 per cent on average. Further, a deeper dive into pay scale shows that for each hour worked, women’s earnings are on average 17 per cent below those of men, of the same age and education and economic status.

Large differences also exist among countries in the region when it comes to pace of growth, and the levels of female participation achieved, with figures lagging significantly in developing countries.

In 2018 overall, over half of all women (aged 15 or over) in 18 countries in the region were working, with Peru taking the lead at 68.7 per cent, followed by Bolivia with 63 per cent, and among the lowest, Costa Rica at 45.1 per cent, and 43. 5 per cent in Mexico.

One of the main factors underpinning a growing working women population is higher education-the study demonstrates a positive correlation between number of school years completed, with rates of labour participation. In Peru, for example, 90 per cent of women with advanced education (which in this case refers to schooling beyond high-school level), were working, and 80 per cent in Venezuela, with similar correlations in neighboring countries. (UNI)