Is there a gender pay gap in the United States and Latin America?

By: Marilyn Chirino.

The gender pay gap has been relatively stable in the United States for the past 15 years. 82 cents for every dollar. In this way, the existence of the current Gender Salary Gap that has remained in the United States since 1979, the year in which the first available data on the subject is available, is evidenced. In addition, it will remain so until 2059, the year in which the gap is estimated to be closed (According to Insider Magazine).


Why does the gender pay gap persist?

In its most basic form, it involves direct pay discrimination: men are paid more than women for the same work, for no reason beyond their gender.

This figure is altered by several factors among which are: ethnicity, state, education. This is evidenced in the case of Afro-American women, who belong to the sector of the most affected.
To this is added that the most affected state is Wyoming with a gap of 36.6%, with Vermont being the least affected with 9%. Some states have implemented Pay Disparity Laws, but there are still stark differences.

There are only a few occupations where women earn slightly more than men, such as health care workers.

According to the Rockefeller Foundation, only 21 women are at the helm of Fortune 500 companies. In addition, very few women are CEOs of large corporations. Which also shows the purchasing power that men have over women. The latest McKinsey report suggested that more women are working in senior positions.

Source The Rockefeller Foundation: Women in Leadership: Why It Matters

In 2015, women with children earned about the same as women without children, another sign of inequality. For working women, the difference in income between women with and without children is minimal. Working moms only earned $30 compared to other working women in 2019.


How is it evidenced in Latin America?


In the Latin American continent, there is a greater number of women in the worst paid sectors and jobs. As a result of this, they earn less money than men, in addition to suffering discrimination in the labor market.


In addition, women have more limited possibilities of obtaining higher-level jobs and advancing in their professional careers, placing motherhood as one of the main circumstances that cause this discrimination.


According to the report ‘The Global Gender Gap Report 2021’ published on March 30, 2021 by the World Economic Forum, Venezuela is the country in Latin America where the gender wage gap is most evident.



In Latin America, a recent report by Aequales shows that compared to the salary of men, the salary of a woman is about 89.4%, that is, a difference of 10.6%, this for level one employees; while for level two employees the figure would be 77.6% with a difference of more than 22%.



According to the UN Women website:

Since 2013, the largest increases in women’s wages have served to gradually reduce the gap with respect to men. However, this trend stopped in 2019 when the wage gap remained at the same level as in 2018 (87.7%). The COVID-19 Pandemic suggests that these data will continue or worsen.


How can we close the gender pay gap?

First, laws that enforce equal pay can effectively eradicate pay discrepancies and ensure that better frameworks are in place to achieve greater equality in the workplace.

Campaigners around the world are trying to get companies to voluntarily commit to paying fairly.


In conclusion, the gender wage gap is a real problem, which affects the entire female sector in the United States and Latin America. Transparency around wages must be increased across the board. Regardless of the category in which the explanation for the pay gap falls, this problem is often difficult to address. It is clear, then, that cultural bias, and lack of progress in workplace design, contribute to the gender pay gap. However, it is a problem that must be addressed in all sectors in order to reach a solution.



February 2024