Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
SANTIAGO, Chile (CMC) — Experts attending a seminar in Chile on women’s economic autonomy say that while normative frameworks are necessary, they are not enough to achieve substantive equality between men and women in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“The current economic situation and the prospects for 2019 are not favourable for citizens in general, and for women in particular, to achieve greater economic autonomy,” said Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The Normative Frameworks for Women’s Economic Autonomy and Gender Equality seminar is being hosted by the World Bank group and ECLAC.
“That is why we are determined to break the statistical silence regarding women’s total work and inequality in income, wealth and full access to the labour world with all rights,” added Bárcena, stressing that “the elusive economic autonomy of women will continue to be one of ECLAC’s priorities.
“Gender inequality, in addition to being unfair, is profoundly inefficient. It is an obstacle that conspires against sustainable development. It is inefficient that in Latin America and the Caribbean women have higher education levels than men and face discrimination in labour markets.” Bárcena said that “this failure to take advantage of women’s capacities, and the glass ceiling that keeps them from accessing senior, decision-making posts, is a ceiling on our countries’ productivity”.
She said gender equality contributes to creating diverse work environments, driving innovation and narrowing structural gaps.
Bárcena said that women’s labour participation rate remains stagnant at around 52 per cent, while that of men is 76.6 per cent, and half of all employed women (51.4 per cent) work in low productivity-sectors with precarious labour conditions.