Wednesday, October 26, 2011
[IWS] World Bank: Work and Family: Latin American and Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance [25 October 2011]
IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau
Work and Family: Latin American and Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance [25 October 2011]
[full-text, 193 pages]
Press Release 25 October 2011
Beyond the Gender Gap: Latin American and Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance
World Bank Study, Launched with the Participation of UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, Sheds Light on Responses to a New Gender Reality
NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 2011 – In many respects, the gender gap in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has been closed. Today, women in the region outnumber men in schools and universities. Since 1980, nearly 70 million women have joined the labor market ensuring that more women now work outside the home than not and that the percentage of single working women is as high as that of single men.
“The region is making important strides towards broader social equity with significant progress in poverty reduction. We are also witnessing a reduction in gender disparities,” said Pamela Cox, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean. “We are glad to see that the focus on improving women’s status is paying off.”
According to the new study, Work and Family: Latin American and Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance, maternal mortality rates have been declining continuously in the region since the 1980s. In fact, those countries previously most affected have seen the most progress, with mortality rates dropping by 40 percent in the Caribbean and 70 percent in the Andean region. Latin American fertility rates are now as low as those of industrialized nations.
With the exception of indigenous populations, girls now outperform boys in education, according to the study launched today at UN Women headquarters in New York. Female enrollment rates from primary to tertiary education have increased to the point of closing or even reversing the gender gap. In the labor market, such gap has narrowed faster than in any other region in the developing world. In most LAC countries, the rate of women working has at least doubled since the 1960s, and has tripled in Brazil.
This expanded professional engagement of women in Latin American society has also translated into higher participation in formal politics, with the share of parliamentary seats held by women in the region at nearly 24 percent, the highest among all regions of the world.
The dramatic increase in working women has brought a level of financial and social equality between men and women unimaginable decades ago. Yet increased access to work and financial independence don’t automatically translate into improved wellbeing. The new study, cautions against such simplistic conclusions, and urges a nuanced understanding of differences that remain and that require a new approach to gender issues.
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