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Ten things to know about gender equality and rural poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean

©IFAD/Santiago Albert Pons

In Latin America and the Caribbean, women in formal employment are less likely to work in the agricultural sector than in other developing regions. In 2010, females comprised just over 20 per cent of those who were economically active in agriculture.


Female workers are overrepresented in vulnerable employment; they work as unpaid family workers with less access to benefits or social protection programmes. In Brazil alone, 7.2 million women work as domestic workers with limited protection. ©IFAD/Carla Francescutti

Women’s work is often unpaid and they are less likely than men to work for a wage. In countries like Ecuador and Guatemala, fewer than 10 per cent of women in rural employment work for a wage while 30 per cent of men in rural employment do. IFAD/Carla Francescutti

Women’s workloads are significantly larger than men’s in the region. In most countries, the number of daily hours women spend on unpaid work is two or three times higher than for men. In El Salvador, it is six times higher. ©IFAD/Pablo Corral Vega

The literacy rate for young men and women in the region is 97 per cent. However, regional variations exist, and in Haiti, the literacy rate is only 70 per cent for young women and 74 per cent for young men. ©IFAD/David F. Paqui

In Latin America and the Caribbean region, the primary school net enrolment ratio reaches 95 per cent for both boys and girls. The secondary school net enrolment rate for the region is 70 per cent for girls and 75 per cent for boys. ©IFAD/Santiago Albert Pons

In Latin America and the Caribbean, boys and young men are disproportionately affected by HIV. Prevalence rates among young men aged 15 to 24 years are more than 60 per cent higher than among women of the same age. ©IFAD/Alessio Martinelli

Many countries in the region have instituted legal reforms to strengthen married women’s land rights, but land-titling does not always include the names of both the husband and wife. Still, the average share of female agricultural holders is almost 20 per cent. ©IFAD/Carla Francescutti

A gender gap in accessing credit is prevalent in Latin America and the Caribbean. While women have the same legal rights to access bank loans as men in most of the region, discriminatory practices often restrict women from doing so. ©IFAD/Elisa Finocchiaro

In Latin America, the proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments reaches 25 per cent on average – the highest rank among developing regions. In the 2011 elections in Nicaragua, women won more than 50 per cent of the seats in the majority party. ©IFAD/Carla Francescutti


Sources: 1) FAO, State of Food and Agriculture, 2010-11 2) World Bank, 2011 and ILO, 2013 3) FAO, State of Food and Agriculture, 2010-11 4)UNDP Human Development Report, LAC, 2010 5) UNICEF 6) UNICEF 7) UNICEF 8) FAO, State of Food and Agriculture, 2010-11 9) OECD, 201210) World Bank 2012, MDG Report 2012