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Peru: Beyond the Gender Gap

World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development

Findings of the World Bank's global report on gender equality and development were presented in Lima, to over 300 public and private sectors practitioners, civil society, and media on November 8. The global report was accompanied by a regional study — Work and Family: Latin America and the Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance.

Peru's Minister of Women and Social Development, Aida Garcia Naranjo led her keynote speech with a direct quote from the 2012 gender equality and development report, that demonstrates positive changes in lives of Tanzanian women and men, over the past decade. She added that Peruvian women are now at the center of her country's development. "We still have much to do in terms of the social inclusion agenda, especially with respect to the most vulnerable women." "We have learned from our own experience that reducing poverty does not necessarily reduce gender inequality," said the minister.

Ana Revenga
Ana Revenga speaking at a seminar in Peru on November 8, 2011. More images are available in this link.

"Focused domestic public policies remain the key to bringing about gender equality," said Ana Revenga, co-director of the World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development. "To be effective, these policies will need to address the root causes of gender gaps. For other gaps, as with unequal access to economic opportunities, policies will need to tackle the multiple constraints — in markets and institutions — that keep women trapped in low productivity/low earning jobs, " Revenga said.

Discussions of both World Bank reports, as well as findings of studies conducted in Peru were led by a panel of experts, Martin Valdivia, head researcher at GRADE, a leading Peruvian think tank, and Ana Maria Yañez of the Manuela Ramos Movement.

Yañez said Peru is a profoundly diverse country where national averages can be misleading. She cited the example of the total fertility rate of the highland region of Huancavelica, which at 4.55 children per women is more than double the rate of 2.06 for Lima. Yañez also said that while national statistics reflect equal access to education for both sexes, the figures hide major gaps in rural Peru. "In rural areas, the percentage of women with no education far surpasses that of men: 27 percent among women versus 7 percent among men in 2007" she said.

According to Yañez "women do not enter the labor force; rather, they expand it through their own activities." Most women are self-employed, as evidenced by the fact that 67 percent of employed women in Peru work in the informal sector.

Furthermore, a time-use survey conducted in 2010 by the National Institute of Statistics in Peru revealed significant gender differences. Women spent nearly twice as much time caring for physically or mentally disabled or elderly family members at home: 16.47 hours, versus 8.55 hours for men. Moreover, the time women spent on household cooking chores tripled that of men: 13.43 hours, versus 4.02 hours for men.

Meanwhile, Valdivia emphasized the vast difference in the amount of time women entrepreneurs engage in unpaid work as compared with their male counterparts. He also stressed the importance of changing cultural patterns within the family as well as increasing access to credit. His research points to the need to provide women entrepreneurs with technical assistance specifically tailored to their needs in an effort to improve their productivity.

An additional presentation of the 2012 World Development Report on gender equality and development was delivered to about 80 students and faculty members of Peru's Pontificia Universidad Catolica.

 



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