A recent study, prepared by the State of the Nation and the National Institute of Women (INAMU), reports that on average a female worker in Costa Rica receives ¢74 to every ¢100 males receive for the same duties.
The wage gap between men and women jumped 75% between 1996 and 2008, rising from 15% to 26%, respectively.
The research indicates that the gender gap in income is due to continuing discrimination against women, recognizing that their salaries are secondary to the economies of their households.
Another cause of increased wage disparity is the lack of an employment policy with a gender perspective, one that safeguards the rights of workers, the study said.
Mabel Figueroa, coordinator of the area of public policy management INAMU warned that this inequality translates into fewer options for upward mobility for women and children.
By breaking down the income gap by industry, inequality is even more obvious. For example, in the commercial sector, women earn on average 37% less than men. The same percentage occurs in the manufacturing industry.
There are also big differences in community and personal services (36%) and domestic (34%), as determined by the investigation.
However, the most affected are women working on their own, since they earn only 51% of the income received by men located in the same category.
Figueroa explained that this is due to the responsibilities that must meet these women in their homes, which limit their working hours.
“If a child is ill or has a problem at school, she quits the business or not doing what you are doing to address the situation, for a social issue she feels responsible to do so, it is unlikely a man will do same “, he said.
The gender pay gap also varies by employer. In public administration, the gap is only 12%, while in private is almost three times: 33%.
Orlando Garcia, director of national employment, the Labor Ministry said that this is due to the Civil Service systems used in public administration for the recruitment and promotion of posts, which, in its discretion, tries to ensure greater equity.
Regarding the situation of the private sector, Garcia said it is “difficult” to exercise control in the absence of legal mechanisms.
“How to prove that discrimination exists?, An employer can argue various reasons to explain the wage gap. Changes should be a matter of corporate social responsibility, “he said.
Asked about the issue, the elected president, Laura Chinchilla, said a priority of her government, which will start on the 8th of May, will be to defend the economic rights of women.
You have two actions. The first is to double the number of inspectors in the Ministry of Labor, increasing from 130 to 260, to punish discrimination.
Chinchilla’s strategy is that new inspection plazas are filled by women, believing that they have more awareness of the abuses faced by their peers.
The other proposal is for the state to assume the payment of parental leave for women workers in medium and small businesses.