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07/03/2017 | Note for equality

Notes for Equality N°22: Women: the most harmed by unemployment

Despite that the rate of unemployment in Latin America has tended to be low, accumulating a decline of 2.8 percentage points between 2002 and 2013, since 2015 this tendency has reversed. According to data from the Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean of ECLAC, for that year the rate of unemployment reached 7.4%, with women being the most affected: for them unemployment was placed at 8.6%, whilst for men at 6.6%. In 2016 unemployment reached 9.0%, which represents an increase of 4.1 million people unemployed.

During the last decade in Latin America the labour market indicators have shown a positive evolution: labour incomes have risen in the majority of countries of the region and unemployment has reduced. However, the female labour participation rate has stagnated at 53% and these indicators continue to display large gender gaps in access to opportunities and rights. The inequalities are based on a social system that reproduces stereotypes and maintains a sexual division of labour which limits the participation of women into the labour force. These structural factors represent an obstacle to overcoming poverty and inequality in terms of the attainment of women’s economic autonomy, more so if the current context of contracting growth is considered.