Closing the gender gap in Latin America

The gender pay gap has attracted a great deal of focus in recent times. But it is important not to forget the fight for equal employment opportunities between men and women, especially in Latin America.

At the G20 summit held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the end of 2018, just 3 out of the 38 global political leaders present were women. This makes it one of the lowest percentages of women in attendance compared with previous G20s.

Although progress has been made in recent years, the results of a survey carried out by La Nación, one of Argentina’s main broadsheet newspapers, show that 58% of women are working or looking for a job, while the corresponding percentage for men is 80%. Globally, women represent 32% of supervisor positions, 26% of management positions and just 9% of executive positions.

Understanding the gap Latin America’s male dominated-society or ‘macho’ culture is a key reason for the gap in equality in the region.

Technology has obviously enabled a more flexible working environment, making it easier for women to continue working in some sectors after they have children. However, many continue to suffer career slowdown as a result.

Benefits of equality

Single gender teams lack the advantages of a range of different ideas, perspectives and ways of thinking that come with diversity. Diversity should be seen as an asset rather than a drawback.

Making progress?

According to another survey carried out by La Nación3, inequality around the gender pay gap in equal roles in Argentina is less of an issue than in reaching more senior positions.

Although there continues to be considerable room for improvement in addressing such inequality, progress has been made in recent years. Women are starting to take much more of a front seat in politics in many countries around the world, although there is clearly much progress still to be made.

An increased awareness of these issues and global campaigns such as ‘Me Too’ are changing perceptions around male-dominated culture. As global awareness of the gender gap has grown, it has been shown that greater diversity at every level of the workforce can improve productivity and creativity.

Many organisations have introduced minimum quotas for the number of women in leadership roles. In many countries maternity and paternity benefits enable mothers to continue working and share parenting responsibility with their partners, although this, unfortunately, is not yet usually the case in Latin America.

For more information, contact:
Noemi Cohn Abelovich,
Polan & Asociados,
T: +54 11 4312 8525