Over the last 30 years, women have made significant gains in Latin America and the Caribbean. Maternal deaths in childbirth have dropped by more than half, young women are slightly more educated than men, and the region recorded the highest rate of convergence between male and female labor force participation from 1990-2015 compared to other regions of the world. But glaring gender gaps remain in areas ranging from labor stability and wage differences, to the highly unequal distribution of unpaid work related to household chores and childcare, and widespread domestic abuse. And the Covid-19 pandemic may be further undermining women in these areas, revealing a deep need to address their situation amidst one of the greatest economic and health challenges in generations.
Evidence from the United States suggests that in developed countries, the pandemic is disproportionally affecting women’s place in the labor market, as they tend to be overrepresented in the hardest-hit sectors such as services, education, leisure and tourism. The same appears to be true in Latin America and the Caribbean. As is clear from the recent IDB/Cornell Coronavirus Survey and Figure 1 below, single women are more likely than single men to report that at least one adult in their household lost their source of income. A similar, though smaller, gap exists when it comes to married female respondents relative to married male respondents.
By Veronica Frisancho – Diego Vera-Cossio.
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