Women continue to have the lowest-paying jobs, while they work longer hours than men, according to the annual report on inequalities released Monday by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Women dedicate up to one-third of their time to unpaid domestic and home health care work, versus just 10 percent for men, and this unpaid work represents a huge part of the country's total gross economic product — about a fifth, the Social Panorama 2016 report said.
People of African descent living in Latin America also have the lowest-paying jobs and have the highest rate of unemployment, according to the document, while they suffer from higher levels of infant and maternal mortality and teenage pregnancy.
“Inequality is a historical and structural characteristic of Latin American and Caribbean societies, which manifests itself via multiple vicious circuits,” CEPAL’s Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena stated at a press conference in Santiago, Chile.
Between 2008 and 2015, income distribution inequality among people in Latin America decreased thanks to countries’ prioritization of social development objectives, but the pace of decline slowed between 2012 and 2015, and current levels remain very high, CEPEL warned.
The regional organization urged countries to maintain budgetary allocations for social spending in the future in order to properly address the issue of inequality in the region.
“Public policies must guarantee the entitlement to rights; productive and quality work must be recognized and advanced as the key to equality and the quintessential instrument for forging well-being; and social protection must be made universal over the course of the life cycle (childhood and adolescence, youth, adulthood and old age), with a perspective that is sensitive to differences,” the report concluded.