By way of the Poverty News Blog, a new report by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) highlights the ethnic and gender wage gaps in Latin America. The IDB which honored Pro Mujer Co-Founder Lynne Patterson earlier this year for her pioneering role as a woman in microfinance, reports that women in Latin America still earn nearly 17 per cent less than their male counterparts even though they are better educated.
The study also found that indigenous and Afro-descendant minorities, like many of the Aymara and Quechua speaking Pro Mujer clients in Bolivia and Peru, earn on average 28 per cent less than their compatriots, when individuals have the same age, gender and level of education.
In general, the smallest gender wage gap is found among younger people with a college degree. The biggest gaps are found among workers with lower incomes, with an incomplete secondary education and living in rural areas.
The findings underscore the importance of targeting women for aid, especially rural indigenous women. Women are more likely to invest in their children, using earnings to send their daughters to college, which is an investment in the future.