Women in Latin America. Gender Equility Status.
I was speaking with ACS's Jeannette Arbulu last week in Buenos Aires about the gender equality in Latin America, and we were certain that there are lots of things we still can do as women, to mentor more young ladies into the corporate and political arena.
Although gender equality varies from one country to another there are still some industries that struggle to find women in the top of the corporate scale.
I truly believe one of the most important things we can do as women is to mentor the young generations and let them have the opportunities they deserve to grow as responsible leaders and most of all, let them have all the opportunities that they can use to learn the business as soon as possible.
I believe that promoting in-company leadership seminars and promoting opportunities for women to train in different fields is also a must.
Last year I was blessed with the opportunity of creating a completely new team of people for the press and media department of one of the local governments I am advising and I chose diverse people, from different colleges and undergraduates as well.
The team worked extremely well, and I am proud to have had the opportunity to help a secondary student who really needed to work to help her home and had never had a chance to do so. That’s when I realized that she would capitalize from various leadership seminars and I included her brief resume to be considered for the Rotary Youth Leadership Award in my city. That experience changed the way she works and sees the world as a much nicer and positive environment.
I am constantly reading and studying the way in which I can help and promote talented women and this week I specially researched about the state of gender equality in the region. These are some of the most interesting articles I found. I want to share them, with you.
According to world focus “In Latin America there has in recent years been an increase in both the number and percentage of women in politics - embodied by the rise to power of two female presidents, Michelle Bachelet in Chile and Cristina Fernández in Argentina. Their election has, in turn, generated a renewed debate on the state of women in politics today in the region. The reality, perhaps surprising, is that the progress of women in assuming elected office in Latin America varies considerably: between and even within countries, nationally and sub-nationally. “
Open Democracy also resembles the differences in the Senate and House Representatives stating “Two specific examples demonstrate the importance of the design of the electoral system to more balanced representation: Why does Argentina have 40% women legislators, while neighbouring Brazil has only 8%? Both countries have list systems with gender-quotas, but they're only effective in Argentina where parties run "closed" lists and are required to alternate men and women in "electable" positions higher up the list. Brazil, on the other hand, allows parties to present a number of candidates equivalent to as much as 150% of the number of seats being contested and there is no sanction for non-compliance with the quota. Additionally, Brazil's candidate-centred "open" list-system makes success more dependent on access to campaign funding, an area in which women face greater disadvantages.”
George Redman has and interesting evaluation of what’s going on in Central America:
In Central America women are shouldering greater burdens than ever before not only in providing for their families but also in all walks of social, economic and political life both locally and nationally. In addition to continuing their traditional domestic role, many women must now work full time jobs to attempt to ensure food, health and education for their children. In rural communities it is increasingly common to find women holding leadership positions in organizations dedicated to managing all aspects of community life and development. But while the demands on women are increasing, so is their vulnerability.
Regarding political quotas there´s a very interesting paragraph in IDEAS´ (Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance) paper: Quotas can’t get us more women presidents, governors or mayors. According to Argentine expert Alejandra Massolo, women only hold 5.5% of the mayoral posts in Latin America. Quotas can’t keep women in politics. With the increasing numbers of women in political office in some countries, it’s become clear that getting there is not everything. Women can only make a difference in politics to the extent that they are able to consolidate their political career and capital through re-election and posts with increasing responsibility. Quotas can’t make women effective politicians. Though the numbers of women elected officials may be on the rise in some countries, there is no guarantee that they will perform well in political life (just as there’s been no such guarantee for male political leaders during the last 25 centuries give or take).
The InterAmerican Center of Knowledge makes a call on the state of work legislation and actual situation: "In spite of the progress made over the last 20 years, gender inequalities are still an obstacle to the full development of the countries of the region", point out Maria Valeria Pena, director of the Gender Unit of the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean. "Inequality is translated into losses derived from the absence of women in economic activities, losses of human capital derived from maternal mortality and drop out from schools by young pregnant women and children and social and economic costs derived from violence against women. Women participation in the labour market is still very inferior to men participation. In Brazil, 56% of women participates in the labour market; in Chile, 44%; in Colombia, 56%; in Mexico, 43% and in Peru, 55%, while in all these countries men participation is over 77%. Although the wage gap has decreased considerably in many countries such as Honduras, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico, women earn less than men in all the Latin American countries except in Costa Rica. In Argentina, women earn 98% of the men salary, in Mexico 89%, in Colombia 84%, in Peru 80%, in Brazil and Chile 77%, in El Salvador 74% and in Nicaragua 64%."
Representatives of national mechanisms for the advancement of women and national statistical offices of the Caribbean countries met in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia with representatives of ECLAC, CARICOM, INSTRAW, PAHO, UNFPA and UNIFEM, and discussed the progress made and challenges faced by the Caribbean countries to obtain statistical information on the Observatory's strategic indicators.
finally a study about Gender equality in basic education in Latin America and the Caribbean: state of the art
(UNESCO 2002) states “This region is unique in that girls are not just equal to boys, but sometimes they are even in a more advantageous position than boys in terms of school education(…) However, it appears that gender stereotyping, discrimination based on gender and gender bias are still evident, especially in rural and remote areas”