Overall, the participation of women in the labor market continues to be much lower than that of men. In Brazil, 56 percent of women take part in the labor market; in Chile, 44 percent; Colombia 56 percent and Mexico 43 percent, while in all of these countries the participation of men is over 88 percent.
Although the salary divide between genders has narrowed considerably in many countries such as Honduras, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico, women earn less than men in all countries of the region with the exception of Costa Rica.
Factors contributing to this phenomenon include the large-scale participation of women in the service sector, which is generally the most poorly paid sector of the economy. What’s more, women are generally the ones who are responsible for caring for their families, often leading to a higher turnover rate in the labor force and a preference for part-time work. Even though Latin American women have almost reached the same level of education as men, and in some countries have even surpassed them, they continue to participate less in the labor market and earn less than men”,
To improve this situation there are needed labor policies aimed at reducing the barriers that women face, particularly, poor women, when attempting to enter the job market. These policies include increasing the number of daycare centers, providing family planning services, and a more equitable distribution of the workload at home.
With regard to health care, the document points out that even though maternal mortality has decreased in most countries, it continues to be women’s principal healthcare problem, above all in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador. AIDS, in turn, has become one of the most serious problems in the Caribbean.
While access to the labor market is the main problem for Mexico, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela, in Colombia it is domestic violence, and in Guyana, French Guiana and Surinam, maternal mortality. Argentina has problems related to the job market and teenage pregnancy; in Brazil, the labor market and maternal mortality are the foremost problems; in Central America, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay, the main problems are maternal mortality and domestic violence; in Bolivia, they are maternal mortality and teenage pregnancy and in the Caribbean, AIDS and domestic violence are the greatest problem.