Latin Women Essay, Research Paper
During the 19th century, public life for women was limited. Women were still considered minors. But there were some advances in education, which helped some women to enter into professions. There were also alterations of civic codes that ultimately abolished the laws in many countries. Latin American women entered the 20th century with a better education and legal status but with still restricted roles. Women initiated campaigns for equal political and civil rights. But despite gains they was still discrimination, and some women faced the duty of family and employment.
One of the most notable characteristics of today?s poverty in Latin America is the growing number of women among the poor. Today about 20 percent of the poorest households in Latin America are headed by women, but in some cities the percentage rises to almost 38 percent. A review of 22 studies of women-headed households in Latin America reveals that there is a strong correlation between female head-ship and poverty, and that such households are increasing in number.
There are many reasons why we see a rise in the number of households headed by women in poverty. Female headed households are likely to be more poor than male headed households because they have fewer working members of the family, they have a lower average of earnings, less access to jobs and productive resources. Most Latin American women have less education than men do.
There are more and more women are working as laborers. Fruit companies in Chile rely exclusively on women for harvesting, processing, and packing fruits. In Columbia women cultivate and pack flowers. What?s amazing is that they are paid less then men are, just because they are women. In Honduras for example women are paid 70 percent of the male wage for performing the same tasks in tobacco cultivation. It is clear that the women who do participate in the labor force and have the same education level as men are discriminated. It is not so much that female-headed households have lower incomes because of them having more children or fewer adults, but that the head of the household is discriminated against and ultimately earn less.
Because there are many women who lack education and skills, women in formal employment tend to be clustered in jobs that offer little potential for training or advancement. In Brazil, Chile, and Peru over 50 percent of economically active women work in the service sector 1988. Most of the women who do have a better paying jobs in the formal sector are self-employed. Usually self-employment doesn?t have much potential for growth. The problem with women in the workforce doesn?t stop there. In households where there is a male head of the house, a woman?s income is still highly depended on. Female income is often a secondary or tertiary source of income. Many rural families rely upon the work of its female members for a lot of their food. Traditionally the money earned by men is used only for expenses, forcing the wife to make her own income in order to provide for other necessities. With less and less land becoming available for agriculture and unable to produce enough corn for the year, the men are forced to find additional income in order to supplement what they can grow.
Women in the work force have problems, but they also have problems within their families as well. The female as we have seen is depended on for financial income. At the same time the female has extended responsibilities and concerns at home. Along with working outside the home the female is generally the caretaker in raising the children and doing domestic chores around the home. In general the females control the families domestic budget but this seems to be dropping with the rising standard of living.