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Overcoming Gender Disadvantages. Social Policy Analysis of urban middle-class women in Colombia


  • Lina Buchely



The World Bank Report 2012 starts with this statement: “Gender equality matters in itself and it matters for development because, in today’s globalized worlds, countries that use the skills and talents of their women would have an advantage over those which do not use it.” With the frame that suggest that gender equality matters, this paper describes some policy alternatives oriented to overcome gender disadvantages in the formal labor market incorporation of the urban middle class women in Colombia. On balance, the final recommendation suggest that it is desirable to adopt policy alternatives as Community Centers, which are programs oriented to a social redistribution of the domestic work as a way to encourage women participation in the formal labor market with the social support of the members of their own community. The problem that the social policy needs to address is the segregation of women in the formal labor market in Colombia. Although the evidence shows that the women overcome the educational gap by showing better performance in education that their male peers, women are still segregated of the labor market. The persistence of high rates of unemployment on the female population, the prevalence of the informal labor market as a women labor market, and the presence of the payment difference between men and women with similar professional trainings are circumstances that sustain the segregation statement. These circumstances are inefficient for the society because an economic analysis shows that the cost of maintain the statu quo is externalized in the social security system that includes health, pension and maternity leave regimens. Therefore, the women segregation involves a market failure. This paper evaluates five policy alternatives each directed to the progress of a different causal dimension of the problem: (i) Quotas in the private market, (ii) Flexible working hours, (iii) replace the maternity leave with a family leave, (iv) Increase the Community Centers for redistributing the care work, and (v) Equal payment enforcement. The first alternative looks to increase women’s participation in the formal labor market. The second, third, and fourth

Suggested Citation

  • Lina Buchely, 2013. "Overcoming Gender Disadvantages. Social Policy Analysis of urban middle-class women in Colombia," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000151:012321

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alejandro Badel & Ximena Peña, 2010. "Decomposing the Gender Wage Gap with Sample Selection Adjustment: Evidence from Colombia," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 25(2), pages 169-191, Diciembre.
    2. Fidan Ana Kurtulus & Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2011. "Do Women Top Managers Help Women Advance? A Panel Study Using EEO-1 Records," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2011-14, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. María Teresa Ripoll, 2015. "[Ensayo] Género e historia empresarial en Colombia: Un balance bibliográfico, 1980 - 2013," REVISTA ECONOMÍA & REGIÓN, UNIVERSIDAD TECNOLÓGICA DE BOLÍVAR, vol. 9(2), pages 201-219, December.

    More about this item


    Gender equality; formal labor market; social policy evaluation; Community Centers;

    JEL classification:

    • B54 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Feminist Economics


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