by | 2023 - 01 - Mar | News

Women at work: an unequal reality

March is Women’s Month so GCE XPERTS will publish a group of blogs related to the topic. In this first article, we will show the current situation, structural problems, key data, and global and regional figures that give us a preliminary diagnosis.

When we speak about women at work we can see some improvement, but also we can find some permanent problems. In the last century, they changed their role in the world. Today, we can be sure that they have the same capacities as men in the working field. Sadly, they have to face some barriers that men haven’t.

It is possible to separate two types of difficulties for women at work: inside and outside of it. In the first case, it is possible to see the pay gap, the inequality in main charges, and the harassment at work. In the second case, we can see the consequences of domestic work and maternity.

An unequal reality

Let’s see some numbers. When we speak about the gender pay gap, we rely on the United Nations’ definition. They define it as the salary differences between men and women in the same position. “For every dollar men earn, women earn 77 cents“, assure the UN in September of 2022. “Women are under-represented in decision-making roles”, said the same report referred. International consulting firm Grant Thornton found that by 2020, globally, the average percentage of women in senior management positions was only 29%.

If we think about harassment at work, the data also worry. “More than one in five employed women (nearly 23 percent) have experienced violence and harassment at work, whether physical, psychological or sexual, according to a new joint analysis, the first of its kind, conducted by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) and Gallup”, wrote ILO in a report in December of the last year.

The difficulties outside the work are more difficult to measure, but “according to the most recent surveys, (Charmes, 2019) more than three quarters (76.4%) of unpaid domestic care work worldwide is done by women, while 23.6% is done by men“, wrote Thinking about childcare, the website show research about paternity leaves, and from 169 studied countries, 90 of them do not offer that right. For more than half of that countries, parental responsibility is only for women.

An unequal continent: Latin America

When we focus on Latin countries, the hope doesn’t change too much. The gender pay gap is about 87%, according to OIT. “Since 2013 higher increases in women’s wages have served to gradually narrow the gap concerning men. However, this trend came to a halt in 2019 when the wage gap remained at the same level as in 2018 (87.7%). The COVID-19 Pandemic makes it likely that these data will remain the same or worsen”, wrote a report UNwomen.

If we analyze what positions women occupied, the continent is in a very bad situation. In a BID studio, the institution showed that only 15% of the management charges were occupied by women in 2021. The numbers of gender violence in Latam workspaces are disappointing too. According to Friedrich-Ebert-Sriftung Foundation, 73% of women had suffered from it until November of 2022.

Speaking about domestic work, we have similar data as the rest of the world. Anyway, according to CEPAL information, in some countries like Guatemala or Honduras, women do 5 times more than men in their houses. In Ecuador, the rate is like 4 times more. In Peru and Mexico, men do less than 30% of their domestic work.

“At least, in four countries in the region: Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and Honduras, no paternal leave is offered to fathers with newborns, and in 14 countries in the region, the father is only entitled to 5 days or less of paid leave” according to the website The childcare, again, falls on the mother.

As we see, we have a lot of aspects to improve in the world and on the continent, without mentioning general gender violence and education bias. Also, if there was some positive news last year, the pandemic stopped the slow growth in gender equality. “At the current rate, it will take 257 years to close the global gender pay gap“, said de UN. Because of all of these reasons, changes are urgent. Things can be different.