Gender Gap. In the last days of October, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) presented the report “Labour market conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean: evolution and prospects for female labour participation in Latin America”, corresponding to the first half of 2019. This report identifies that there are still delays in women’s growth and participation in the labour market, given the lag in terms of inclusion policies and sustained progress. Both organizations will continue to promote work in the region to ensure that the next statistical data, which will be released in the first half of 2020, show improvements with respect to the narrowing of the employment gap.
The document refers to the concept of gender gaps in work, education and culture. ECLAC and ILO argue that women’s access to remunerated activities and the narrowing of differences between men and women in the labour market is crucial for growth, equality and poverty reduction in Latin American nations. There has also been a mixed trend over the past three decades: the average participation rate of women aged 15 and over increased by 11 points. However, ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena warned that “in Latin America, women are less likely to participate in the labor market because of the high burden of unpaid domestic work”.
Although this report states that “the region has made progress in many of the factors that positively influence the decision to participate in the labour market”, it does not fail to highlight gender gaps in terms of expected educational performance or cultural aspects that favour women’s reproductive and caring roles. For both entities, the evolution of the rate of female participation in the remunerated market is directly related to women’s autonomy and stands to promote well-being, quality of health and education and reductions in poverty, hunger and inequalities.
ECLAC and ILO call for the tackling of female labour exclusion in order to reduce inequalities linked to intrafamily power dynamics, market restrictions or other constraints. In addition, they recommend incorporating policies to avoid greater job insecurity and work overload, so that the current gaps do not widen. Both organizations maintain that the incorporation of new technologies could stimulate participation while recognizing that prospects for economic growth and hence for improvements in this area are moderate. In order to improve labour equality indices, these entities will work in the coming months with individual country governments.