Latin America and the Caribbean
With an average remaining gender gap of 29.2%, Latin America and the Caribbean is the third-highest ranked region in this year’s Index, behind Western Europe and North America, and slightly ahead of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The region is home to some of the fastest-improving countries in the world since 2006—including Nicaragua, which continues to lead the regional rankings with more than 80% of its gender gap closed—while the lowest-ranked countries in the region, Guatemala and Belize, have closed 67% and 66% of their overall gender gap, respectively.
The difference in gender gap size between the highest-ranked and lowest-ranked countries in the region is about 3.2% on Educational Attainment and less than 1% on Health and Survival, with six out of 24 countries fully closing their gender gap in education and 12 out of 24 countries fully closing their gender gap in health. Three countries—Bahamas, Colombia and Brazil—have fully closed both these gaps this year. Regional differences in gender parity are significantly higher on Economic Participation and Opportunity and, in particular, Political Empowerment, with, respectively, 30% and 54% differences in gender gaps between the region’s best- and worst-performingcountries. Four out of the 24 countries have closed at least 70% of their gender gap on Economic Participation and Opportunity. Two of these—Barbados and Bahamas—have crossed the 80% mark and are in the Index’s global top 5 on this subindex. On Political Empowerment, three of the 24 countries have closed the gender gap by more than 40%, a further ten countries have closed between 20% and 40% of their gender gap, while in 11 countries less than 20% of the gap has been closed.
In terms of year-on-year progress, out of the 24 countries from the region covered by the Index this year, 15 countries have increased their overall scores compared to last year, while nine have decreased their overall scores.
Nicaragua (5) rises one spot in the global top 10 and remains the highest-ranked country in the region for the seventh year in a row. Barbados (21) remains among the best-performing countries in the region and the world on closing the Economic Participation and Opportunity gender gap, despite a slight widening of the gender gap in legislators, senior officials and managers. It continues to take the top spot among the Caribbean nations, followed by the Bahamas (30)—which moves down several ranks due to a widening gender gap in labour force participation—and Jamaica (44), which sees progress on closing its gender gap in healthy life expectancy.
Costa Rica (22) moves up 19 places, largely driven by a significant increase in women in parliament, moving the country into the global top 10 on this indicator. Further, it fully closes its Educational Attainment gender gap. Similarly, Cuba (23) fully closes its gender gap in women in parliament. However, it continues to rank among the lowest countries in the region on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, with insufficient data available to calculate its performance on the estimated earned income indicator. Meanwhile, Bolivia (25) drops out of the global Index top 20 due to a widening gender gap in labour force participation. It, too, remains one of the countries in the world with full gender parity in women in parliament. However, it remains one of the two worst-performing countries in the region on Educational Attainment.
Argentina (36) and Colombia (40) remain the most gender-equal countries among the Latin America and the Caribbean region’s large economies—but both move down several ranks this year. Argentina nevertheless sees a slight increase in gender parity in estimated earned income and legislators, senior officials and managers, whereas Colombia fully closes its Educational Attainment gender gap but also records a wider gender gap in wage equality.
Mexico (50) and Chile (54) follow suit, both climbing several ranks on the back of having closed 72% of their gaps, both countries’ highest-recorded performances by the Index to date. Mexico shows improvement across all four subindexes, reversing last year’s downward trend, with particularly strong progress in gender parity in women in parliament as well as healthy life expectancy. Chile, meanwhile, continues to make steady progress across the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, although it continues to rank among the region’s lower-placed countries on this subindex. Progress is also evident on Political Empowerment, with an increased share of women in parliament. Peru’s (52) overall performance remains largely stable this year, with a narrower gender gap in labour force participation and among professional and technical workers, offset by a wider gap in legislators, senior officials and managers. Further, Peru retains one of the wider Educational Attainment gender gaps in the region.
Ecuador (41) and Uruguay (56) both see some improvement this year, driven by progress across several indicators within the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex. Meanwhile, Panama’s (45) gender parity performance remains largely stable, with small improvements on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex offset by a slightly widening gender gap in primary education.
Venezuela (64) records progress in wage equality for similar work but continues to exhibit a gender gap in primary education. By contrast, Honduras (68) sees a widening gender gap in women in parliament, offsetting modest progress in labour force participation. Both the Dominican Republic (74) and Suriname (79) exhibit some improvement in gender parity on legislators, senior officials and managers as well as primary education, for the former, and labour force participation, for the latter. Conversely, El Salvador (87) experiences a notably strong decrease on legislators, senior officials and managers.
Brazil (95) sees a significant reversal in progress towards gender parity this year—with its overall gender gap standing at its widest point since 2011, largely driven by the country’s Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex. However, both its Health and Survival and Educational Attainment gender gaps remain fully closed.
Paraguay (104), Guatemala (107) and Belize (111) make up the bottom ranks of the Latin America and the Caribbean region.