Female business leaders in the Caribbean and Latin America are still few and far between despite the many efforts to close the gender gap. A study undertaken by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) showed that 85 per cent of management positions are still held by men and only 15 per cent by women, while just 14 per cent of women-owned companies in the region.
The Caribbean figures were not disaggregated in the study titled “An Unequal Olympiad: Gender Equity in Latin American and Caribbean Companies”, it revealed that only in one out of ten companies in the top management position held by a woman.
The participation of women in leadership positions, the level of training of the workforce, the use of advanced technologies, and a favourable business culture were identified as the main factors impacting gender equality in companies in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Commenting on the study, IDB President Mauricio Claver-Carone said: “Gender inequality, particularly in the labour market, has hampered economic growth and social development in the region for too long.
That is why investing in female leadership and promoting women-owned businesses is essential to drive strong and sustainable growth throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.” The study was based on interviews with female entrepreneurs and a survey of 1,015 companies from 20 countries on female participation in their organisations, the policies toward employees and the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Importantly, among the recommendations were the implementation of gender quota legislation, the transparent publication of salary information, the creation of training programmes and the development of an agenda that would facilitate the balance between paid and unpaid work assumed by the majority of women.
The study uncovered that women were found mainly in areas considered soft, such as communication and public relations, while women represented less than 35 per cent of people employed in areas such as foreign trade.
Women represent only 35 per cent of the workforce that uses advanced technologies, while the study found that six out of 10 companies do not provide any type of maternity leave beyond what was determined by the law.
The study was carried out by the Integration and Trade Sector of the IDB and its Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean also found that only 15 per cent of companies analysed whether there were salary gaps within their organisations.