Photo: Wage gap in Latin America
Despite recent gains, the wage gap between men and women in Latin America still prevails, according to a new Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) study entitled “New Century, Old Disparities,” which compares surveys of representative households in 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
The study was released at the POWER Conference, a high-level meeting of experts including U.N. Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who gathered in Lima, Peru, to explore how to achieve gender equality in the labor markets.
The study, which also examines wage differences across ethnic minorities of the region, points out that, although the average gender wage gap decreased from 25 percent to 17 percent between 1992 and 2007, the disparity remains quite high and there is still plenty of work to be done.
According to the household surveys, women hold only 33 percent of the better-paid professional jobs in the region, which include those related to architecture, law or engineering. In these professions, the wage gap between men and women is significantly higher: 58 percent on average. These jobs require quantitative skills, and despite women’s progress in education—leading men by half a year of education on average—they tend to focus on careers like psychology, teaching or nursing, where those skills are not developed.