The number of employed women rose in Brazil, but their salaries have not followed suit. According to Lia Abramo, a regional specialist on gender with the International Labor Organization (ILO), women earn 30% less than men.
And the myth persists that it costs more to hire them, due to the benefits associated with maternity, which supposedly justifies the differences in salaries.
An ILO study conducted in five countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay) demonstrated, however, that this is nothing but a myth.
According to Abramo, in these five countries the cost of hiring women, due to these benefits, is equivalent to 2% of the gross monthly payroll, In Brazil it amounts to 1.2%.
“Moreover, this cost is paid not by the employer but by social security systems, except in the case of Chile, where government funds provide the payments,” Abrama pointed out.
The ILO representative noted that the trend in Brazil and the rest of Latin America is for salary disparities to diminish. The difference is more pronounced at higher levels of education, and the average level of schooling for women is already higher than for men, she observed.
“This shows that women in Latin America are raising their level of schooling, and it also shows that, to earn the same as men, they have to achieve far superior educational credentials,” Abramo affirmed.
The director-general of the ILO, Armand Pereira, underscored that the increase in participátion by women in the market permits an improvement in living standards.
To change the current pattern, which is still one of inequality, the ILO considers it essential for there to be government policies designed to eliminate discrimination and promote equal opportunities.
According to í‚ngela Fontes, of the Special Secretariat of Policies for Women in Brazil, Lula’s Administration established this secretariat because it considered it necessary to have government policies to confront gender inequality. One of these policies is the offer of microcredits to women.
Translation: David Silberstein