Despite Success in Politics Many Latin American Women Still Experience Gender Discrimination

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – The likely victory of Michelle Bachelet in Chile’s presidential elections will strengthen women’s political power in Latin America, a region where while progressing, still sees millions of women as the victims of discrimination and violence.

    Despite women’s success in top positions in politics, a Latin American woman with thirteen or more years of schooling still earns 37% less than men with the same education, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA).

    In addition, the female unemployment rate (9.1%) is 1.4 times higher than the male, which is 6.3%, according to the UN, and very few women reach senior positions in the companies.

    According to the Latin Business Chronicle American publication, as only 1.8% of all Latin American companies are run by women and, of the 500 largest companies in the region, only nine are headed by a woman.

    However, the first woman who became president of a country in the world was inArgentina, Isabel Martinez, who went from vice president to be the highest authority in the country after the death of her husband, President Juan Domingo Perón in 1974 .

    The first Latin American president elected in the polls was Nicaragua’s Violeta Chamorro in 1990, the second, Mireya Moscoso in 1999, and the third, Chile’s Bachelet in 2006.

    Currently there are three Latin American countries, which account for about 40% of the population of the region, led by women: Argentina, Brazil and Costa Rica.

    If the polls are correct, Chile will be added to the list on March 11, 2014, in which Bachelet will win the November 17th election.

    However, Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica, will leave office in 2014, with no possibility of reelection.

    Furthermore, the “number two” of Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Honduras are Margarita Cedeño, Roxana Baldetti and Maria Antonieta Guillén, respectively, and no capital’s mayors as Susana Villar, of Lima, and Carmen Yulin Cruz, San Juan.

    According to a 2012 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Latin America has been made bounds in gender equality in the last two years, with Argentina, Costa Rica and Paraguay at the head, but still there is inequality and gender violence.

    “Women remain unjustifiably disadvantaged in all countries,” says the executive secretary of ECLAC, Alicia Barcena.

    In the home there is not an ideal situation, because the tasks are not distributed evenly and this is also the scene of many of the cases of domestic violence.

    According to the Human Rights Commission, Latin America has made progress in the adoption of laws and policies to end violence against women, which is often at the hands of partners or ex-partners, but there is a significant distance between legislation and its application.

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose Costa Rica

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