Latin America and the Caribbean
With an average remaining gender gap of 29.8%, the Latin America and Caribbean region scores in the middle of the range of the Global Gender Gap Index, behind the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. The region is home to two of the top 10 fastest-improving countries in the world since 2006: Nicaragua and Bolivia—which continue to lead the regional rankings—while the lowest-performing countries in the region are Paraguay and Guatemala. Five of the 24 countries in the region have fully closed their Educational Attainment gender gap (and only four countries in the region have a remaining gender gap of more than 1% on this subindex). Ten countries have fully closed their Health and Survival gender gaps.
Of the 24 countries in the region that are covered by the Index this year, 18 have improved their overall score compared to last year, while six have regressed.
Nicaragua (6) defends its place in the global top 10 and remains the best-performing country in the region for the sixth year in a row. Bolivia (17) enters the global Index top 20, with notable improvements on the estimated earned income indicator. However, it is the worst-performing country in the region on the Educational Attainment subindex. Barbados (23) remains among the best-performing countries in the region and the world on closing the Economic Participation and Opportunity gender gap, achieving parity at the level of female legislators, senior officials and managers. It continues to take the top rank among the Caribbean nations, followed by the Bahamas (27), which shares a similar profile, and Jamaica (51), which this year sees progress reversing on Political Empowerment, healthy life expectancy and wage equality for similar work. Cuba (25) continues to rank among the lowest countries in the region on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, with insufficient data available this year to calculate its performance on the estimated earned income indicator. It also slips several spots on parity in ministerial positions. However, it fully closes its gender gap in Educational Attainment for the second year running.
Argentina (34) and Colombia (36) remain the most gender-equal countries among the Latin America and the Caribbean region’s large economies. Argentina sees an increase in gender parity in parliamentarians and in the share of female legislators, senior officials and managers, but a decrease in women in ministerial positions. Its gender gap on Health and Survival remains fully closed. Colombia, meanwhile, sees a notable increase in women in ministerial posts, but a fall in perceptions of wage equality for similar work. It fully closes its gender gap on the Health and Survival subindex for the first time since 2009. Costa Rica (41) slips several ranks this year, with gains in gender parity for legislators, senior officials and managers as well as women in parliament offset by a declining share of women in ministerial posts. Similarly, Ecuador (42) continues to experience a reversal and widening gender gap on women in parliament and wage equality for similar work, despite progress on women’s share of legislator, senior official and manager roles as well as ministerial posts. It also re-opens its Health and Survival gender gap. By contrast, Panama’s (43) gender parity perfomance remains stable, with a small increase on the Political Empowerment subindex that balances out a modest decrease in perceptions of wage equality for similar work.
Peru (48) and Uruguay (56) are the Latin America and the Caribbean region’s two most-improved countries this year, with each recording a 3% advancement towards closing their overall gender gap. Uruguay records good progress on Political Empowerment, with notable gender parity improvements in ministerial positions and parliamentarians. Peru, likewise, records progress on Political Empowerment but also marks notable improvements on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex for women’s share of estimated earned income and gender parity in legislators, senior officials and managers. However, Peru nevertheless retains one of the wider Health and Survival gender gaps in the region. Honduras (55) shows progress on gender parity in legislators, senior officials and managers this year, overtaking El Salvador (62), while Venezuela (60) records improvements on the share of female parliamentarians from a low base. However, it continues to exhibit a gender gap in enrolment in primary education. Chile (63) climbs seven ranks, recording its highest ever score measured by the Global Gender Gap Index, and closes more than 70% of its overall gender gap for the first time since 2011. It has made modest but consistent progress across the Economic Participation and Opportunity dimension, although it continues to rank among the region’s lower performers on this subindex. Continued improvement in the political participation of women is also reflected in one more year of having a female head of state.
The Dominican Republic (70), Belize (79), and Suriname (86) see notable progress on closing their overall gender gaps due to improvements on, respectively, their Health and Survival, Economic Participation and Opportunity, and Political Empowerment subindexes. However, both Mexico (81) and Brazil (90) see reversals in their progress towards gender parity this year, with their overall gender gaps standing at their widest point since 2013 and 2011, respectively. Mexico re-opens its Health and Survival gender gap and experiences a decrease in wage equality for similar work. Meanwhile, a widening of Brazil’s Political Empowerment gender gap is too large to be counter-balanced by a range of modest improvements across the country’s Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex. However, it manages to fully re-close its Educational Attainment gender gap. Paraguay (96) and Guatemala (110) make up the bottom ranks in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.