High Gender Discrimination in Bolivia’s Labour Market

CEIC Macro Watch: Gender discrimination has been a persistent issue in Bolivia’s socio-economic dynamics, with women facing poorer access to education and healthcare, and subsequently finding it more challenging to secure employment in the country. According to detailed employment statistics by Bolivia’s National Statistics Institute, key labour market ratios are considerably skewed against prospective female employees. Disaggregated employment statistics shed some light on gender dynamics inherent in the Bolivian labour market. Notably, while Bolivia has a slightly high female-to-male ratio (1.06:1) and a correspondingly higher potential labour force rate of 81.50% for females, compared to 78.71% for males, men’s participation in the labour market is noticeably higher than women’s (63.41% and 49.05%, respectively). At the same time, the unemployment rate among female workers tends to be higher than that of their male counterparts (6.11% compared to 5.00%, as of the second quarter of 2011). While women are legally granted equal rights under Bolivia’s constitution, traditional values have resulted in discrimination against women and restricted access to education. The government, in collaboration with non-government organisations, has made some attempts to address these inequalities, though only with limited success. Indeed, statistics suggest that, on the whole, prospective female employees have faced persistently restricted access to the labour market over the years. While the female-to-male ratio was barely changed from 1.04:1 in 2009 to 1.06:1 in 2011, the ratio of economically active males to females hovered around 1.18:1, as of the second quarter of 2011, declining marginally from a recent high of 1.20:1 during the third quarter of 2010. Similarly, the ratio of employed males to females stood at 1.19:1 as of the second quarter of 2011, declining marginally from a high of 1.23:1, during the third quarter of 2011. As a whole, Bolivia’s unemployment rate has fallen from the recent recorded high of 9.37%, observed during the first quarter of 2009. According to the Bolivian National Statistics Institute, as of the second quarter of 2011 the country reported a 5.51% unemployment rate, compared to 6.17% during the previous quarter and 6.03% during the same quarter of the previous year. On the other hand, the decline in the unemployment rate has also coincided with a corresponding decline in the labour force participation rate, potentially masking the overall impact of unemployment in the country. Embedded social values mean that gender disparities may persist, despite government sanction. Despite the state’s attempts to expand learning opportunities for women, access to education remains a prevalent issue, especially in the rural areas where girls of schooling age may be obliged to drop out in order to assist in family agricultural enterprises. By Emmanuel Penetrante in Philippines - CEIC Analyst Discuss this post and many other topics in our LinkedIn Group (you must be a LinkedIn member to participate). Request a Free Trial Subscription. Back to Blog
30th October 2013 High Gender Discrimination in Bolivia’s Labour Market

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