As International Women’s day once again focuses attention on gender inequality around the world, Latin America has made welcome progress in some areas. The region has three of the top ten fastest-improving countries in the world since 2006—Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua—according to the World Economic Forum. However, on current trends the region as a whole could take another 72 years to fully close the gender gap.
Many Latin American women continue not only to have less economic opportunity and earning power than men but are also subject to social evils including high levels of gender-based violence perpetrated against them. The ni una menos protest movement that began in Argentina in 2015 and is now spreading across the region is a public expression of widespread discontent among the region’s women.
All the evidence shows that women need to be equal partners in society for them to be equal participants in work and in the economic life of nations. The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), McKinsey & Company’s business and economics research arm, undertook global research to understand how different countries can unleash the potential of addressing social and economic gender gaps. MGI constructed a Gender Parity Score or GPS made up of 15 economic and social indicators of gender equality that capture the distance that countries need to travel to attain gender parity.
Latin America’s GPS of 0.64—meaning that the region needs to travel 36 percent further to achieve gender …
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