Along with the rest of the world, Costa Rica celebrated International Women’s Day this week. In Latin America, Costa Rica can stake claim to some bragging rights when it comes to women in politics. President Laura Chinchilla is one of three female heads of state in Latin America, and Costa Rica is one of four countries in Latin America (the other three being Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador) that have achieved gender parity at the cabinet level, according to a new study by the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
Still, the study said women remain underrepresented in lower levels of the national legislature and receive less media coverage for election campaigns.
Also, on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, women are doing more to help grow Latin America economically. Female participation in the labor force has risen to 57 percent, according Roubini.com’s Latin America Economonitor. In Costa Rica, women bring in 30 percent of the overall household income. Latin America also has a higher rate of female entrepreneurship compared to other regions. However, many gender caps still exist including that women make 17 percent less than their male counterparts in Latin America, the report said.