World Bank urges Latin America to enact laws to protect women from workplace harassment
27 abril 2018


Gender equality. The Women, Business and Law World Bank Group 2018 published March 29th a survey on the impact of legislative reforms on gender equality in Latin America and the Caribbean. The document outlines the need to promote protection measures in work environments and favor the entry into formal work for women.The report is part of an agenda of recommendations on public policy to promote the development of the region driven by the World Bank. The organization will present an action plan to promote initiatives in this regard in the near future.

The Group stressed that countries in the region should protect women against violence, enacting laws that restrict sexual harassment in workplaces. In this regard, they also highlighted that one third of the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean do not have any legislation to protect them.  

They estimated that, when protection measures are not established, sexual harassment can harm careers, limit the ability to work and damage the work environment.

They also indicated that the legislative advances in the leaves regime were insufficient. They highlighted that less than half of the countries comply with the 14 weeks for pregnancy leave recommended by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The report revealed that Latin America and the Caribbean has a good performance in terms of access to institutions for women, both in the public and private sectors. But, on the other hand, it shows that the indicators of employment, credits and legislation on sexual harassment and domestic violence could be improved.

Next Steps

Although the World Bank´s reports are not binding, its institutional weight in the region is determined by the economic agendas of the different executive branches. For the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean, the contribution of external financing is decisive for their efforts. In 2017, the agency contributed with almost 12 billion dollars in financing. In this sense, it is expected that, after the World Bank launches its action plan, the region governments and legislators will adopt its recommendations.