While Latin American governments have been making strides to equal the playing field between men and women in the business sector, gender discrimination remains alive and well in the in-house legal profession according to LACCA’s latest research, which shows women continue to receive lower wages and face fewer career progression opportunities.
The fact that women all over the world earn less than men, make up a smaller percentage of the workforce in most industries and are promoted less often than men continues to be a persistent problem in the business sector, and this problem seems to be particularly pronounced in Latin America, with an average wage gap of just under 30% - one of the highest in the world, according to the World Economic Forum.
Local governments governments have not been indifferent to the statistics and most have taken steps to begin addressing the gap in their countries. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela have laws requiring equal pay among men and women, while Peru recently enacted a new law prohibiting gender pay discrimination and establishing reporting requirements for companies. However, while most countries embrace laws mandating equal pay for equal work, legislation regulating gender equality in the workplace remain underdeveloped across the region and results from LACCA’s Salary Survey suggest that the gender pay gap has been slow to close in the legal profession.
The underlying issues
“Women are underrepresented at the highest levels of organisations across all industries,” says Barrett Avigdor, managing director at legal recruitment company Major, Lindsey & Africa. “Much of that is due to gender bias in various forms.”