1. The Social Institutions and Gender Index in the Latin America and the Caribbean region

Gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Achieving gender equality is both a standalone goal – Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 – and a fundamental part of 13 of the 17 SDGs.1 Along with the 17 SDGs, 76 of the 169 SDG targets establish conditions for gender equality and women’s rights, and 53 of the 231 indicators explicitly mention women, girls, gender or sex. The principle of leaving no one behind is a call to action to address the structural causes of gender inequality and its consequences for the lives of millions of women and girls around the world. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has also opened new doors and mobilised national gender equality machineries2 and women’s rights organisations to strengthen efforts to promote gender equality across national policies and programmes.

Twenty-five years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) in 1995, governments in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are making efforts to advance on the path towards gender equality. The LAC region has been a pioneer in promoting women’s rights and has subscribed to various fundamental international and regional commitments to improve women’s and girls’ lives. All LAC countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and have adopted non-binding agreements such as the BPfA. At the regional level, the approval of the Regional Programme of Action for the Women of Latin America and the Caribbean 1995-2001 paved the way to bridging gender gaps in key areas and addressing region-specific issues.

The Montevideo Strategy and its ten pillars, adopted in 2016, have accelerated progress and reinforced public policies that guarantee women’s equal status in the public and private spheres. The Montevideo Strategy also recognises the structural barriers to achieving gender equality and women’s autonomy by 2030, and sets out a strategic roadmap for aligning national development priorities and policies.

Despite increasing political commitments in advancing the gender equality agenda, discriminatory social institutions – formal and informal laws, social norms and practices – continue to constrain LAC women and girls’ empowerment and restrict their access to opportunities and rights. Personal and collective opinions and behaviours are still influenced by patriarchal norms that affect, for example, the distribution of household chores between women and men, and may make gender equality more difficult to achieve. The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is likely to exacerbate current imbalances due to mobility restrictions and lockdown in some countries. Every day, women and girls across LAC countries experience some form of discrimination in the family sphere, such as domestic violence or child marriage. Throughout their life cycle, women also encounter different types of discrimination that restrict their involvement in decision making in the private and public spheres.

Since its first edition in 2009, the Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) has shed light on the structural and multiple barriers affecting women’s and girls’ lives in developing and developed countries. Discriminatory laws and social norms delineate the legally and socially acceptable ways to think, do, express or act in relation to gender. As such, they closely link individual sets of rights and opportunities to a person’s gender.

The SIGI 2020 Regional Report for Latin America and the Caribbean provides new evidence-based analysis of the setbacks and progress since 2014 in terms of women’s rights in the family, access to resources, public life and fundamental rights, and physical integrity spheres. The LAC region fares well in the fourth edition of the SIGI in 2019 (OECD, 2019[1]). The level of discrimination in legislation, social norms and practices is 25.4, compared with 17 in Europe and 18.1 in Northern America (which does not include Mexico in this instance), indicating that although steps are being taken in the right direction, there is still a long way to go in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. The LAC region also fares much better than Africa (40.3) and Asia (35.9) in the SIGI (Figure 1.1).

The LAC region’s SIGI scores show the positive effects of enhanced legislative frameworks and holistic approaches in the “Restricted physical integrity” and “Restricted civil liberties” dimensions, which exhibit low levels of discrimination (Figure 1.2). For instance, the LAC region’s legislation on violence against women remains among the most progressive and comprehensive globally. LAC governments have taken steps to update their legal frameworks to cover all forms of violence against women – which include domestic violence, harassment, rape and honour crimes. Alongside these legislative changes, LAC countries have developed national strategies, action plans and protocols to ensure inter-institutional co-ordination, and have started to provide a wide range of support services for victims and survivors of violence against women. In 2017, Peru outlined criminal penalties for sexual harassment with aggravating circumstances to cover educational, employment and training relationships. That same year, Paraguay expanded the legal definition of violence against women by including economic, sexual, labour, political and cyber violence, among others, in its legal code. Similarly, in the “Restricted civil liberties” dimension, special measures (such as political quotas) have started to yield their intended effects: the proportion of women in parliament in the LAC region reached 30% in 2018, one of the highest shares in the world. Four LAC countries are among the top ten countries globally in terms of women’s representation in parliament.

Nevertheless, the implementation of ambitious laws remains uneven, while discriminatory attitudes and norms persist, perpetuating the violation of women’s basic right to a life free of gender-based discrimination. Across the LAC region, clear gaps continue to exist between ambitious laws and their weak enforcement by governments. For instance, despite recent and renewed efforts from certain governments to strengthen their countries’ legal frameworks in order to punish all forms of gender-based violence, the LAC region continues to have the highest rates of femicide in the world. In 2018, 3 529 women were killed across the region because of their gender (OECD, 2020[3]). At the same time, persistent discriminatory norms weaken the implementation of existing legal frameworks. Addressing these social norms requires a whole-of-society shift to induce real changes to individuals’ mindsets. For instance, traditional gender stereotypes, harmful masculinities and attitudes in the family sphere contribute to women’s unpaid care burden, and inhibit their economic, political and leadership aspirations.

Moreover, in some areas of women’s and girls’ lives, the LAC region continues to suffer from poor legislative protection. The SIGI shows that legal issues are particularly acute in the “Child marriage”, “Violence against women”, “Workplace rights” and “Political voice” SIGI indicators. For example, weak legal frameworks against child marriage contribute to the very high incidence rates in the LAC region.

Overall, the present report shows that “Discrimination in the family” is the most challenging dimension in the LAC region and its sub-regions, underscoring the presence of deep social discrimination governing intra-household dynamics between men and women. All three sub-regions tend to score similarly in the other dimensions, with the notable exception of the Caribbean in the “Restricted civil liberties” dimension and South America in the “Restricted access to productive and financial resources” dimension. The Caribbean’s poor performance in the “Restricted civil liberties” dimension is primarily the result of weak legal frameworks governing women’s ability to confer their nationality to their husband or children; establishing incentives for women’s political participation and representation; and guaranteeing equal rights for women to apply for passports and travel documents. South America’s poor performance in the “Restricted access to productive and financial resources” dimension in comparison with the other two LAC sub-regions stems from weak legal frameworks governing women’s rights in the workplace. In particular, many countries in the sub-region continue to prohibit women from entering certain professions (Figure 1.2).

At the same time, gender-based discrimination and gaps within the LAC region are compounded by intersecting identities that primarily affect indigenous, afro-descendant and migrant women. Women who are at the intersection of multiple discrimination (Box 1.1) often face increased hardship and various additional obstacles to claiming their rights, perpetuating a cycle of marginalisation, poverty and inequality. Chapter 2 further explores the intersectionality perspective in the context of migration.

The current level of discrimination in social institutions yields a high economic cost for the LAC region. By limiting the pool of talent available, lowering countries’ capacity to innovate and to accumulate human and financial capital, and reducing the level of education and labour participation among women, discriminatory social institutions impede growth. At the regional level, even before the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, this translated into an estimated USD 400 billion loss in gross domestic product (GDP), which is a loss of USD 1 135 per capita. The SIGI analysis of the LAC region shows that a gradual dismantling of these gender-based discriminatory social norms and practices could yield significant economic benefits and add up to 3.6 percentage points yearly to regional GDP growth. In other words, by 2030, it would represent a potential gain of more than USD 5 000 per capita (see Chapter 2).

Meanwhile, as the current coronavirus (Covid-19) global pandemic unfolds, the socio-economic consequences for LAC women and girls might jeopardise some of the progress that has already been made, and worsen the situation in other areas, such as violence against women. The long-term implications of the rapid spread of the virus on the LAC region’s economies are still unclear, but women in the region appear particularly vulnerable to the economic consequences of the outbreak. Their overrepresentation in the informal sector, the potential reduction in remittances and the additional unpaid care burden will likely combine to worsen their economic situation, particularly for the poorest women. At the same time, confinement measures and their psychosocial consequences might result in an increased number of episodes of violence against women. Similarly, reproductive and personal health will be affected as healthcare capacities become overwhelmed by the rapid spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) and all available health resources are diverted towards the fight against the pandemic (see Chapter 2).

Of the 18 LAC countries classified in the SIGI 2019 Global Report, 15 countries exhibit very low to low levels of gender-based discrimination in social institutions, and no country is classified as having high or very high levels of discrimination (Figure 1.3). Colombia is the LAC region’s top performer, with a very low level of discrimination in social institutions and an overall SIGI score of 15, which ranks the country 13th at the global level. Colombia’s performance is primarily the result of good performance in the “Discrimination in the family” dimension, in which it ranks 3rd globally. Within the LAC region, Colombia is followed by the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, which also display low levels of discrimination, with scores of 18 and 19, respectively.

Across the LAC region, 12 countries are classified as having low levels of discrimination in social institutions, with overall SIGI scores ranging from 21 in Brazil and the Plurinational State of Bolivia (hereafter “Bolivia”), to 29 in Guatemala, Ecuador and Mexico. Trailing slightly behind this group, Paraguay, Chile and Haiti display medium levels of discrimination, with SIGI scores of 33, 36 and 40, respectively (Table 1.1).

Finally, because of data limitations and the fact that the overall SIGI score can only be computed for countries with data points in every single indicator and variable composing the index, 11 LAC countries did not obtain a score in 2019 (see Reader’s Guide). Three countries – namely Argentina, Panama and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (hereafter “Venezuela”) – had enough data to compute SIGI scores in three of the four SIGI dimensions, but all three were missing data on the lifetime prevalence of domestic violence, and Venezuela was also missing data on attitudes towards violence against women.

Gender-based discrimination permeates all levels of society and is reflected in family relations, affecting the daily lives of women and girls around the world. The family sphere is the first social institution – in terms of levels of, and exposure to, discrimination – where boys and girls are confronted with gender norms, expectations, values and stereotypes. Although gender stereotypes emerge in early childhood, they are constantly reinforced through different channels in adolescence and adulthood.

Discriminatory social institutions in particular undermine women’s capacity to participate as equal actors in the household and society. For instance, traditional gender stereotypes and roles confine women and girls to domestic duties and caring responsibilities, which prevents them from pursuing education, entering the workplace or taking leadership roles in the community or society in general. Gender norms in the family also result in girls being married before the age of 18 years, having a subordinate status and low decision-making power in the household, being economically dependent on men, and experiencing violence and harassment at home. Rigid gender stereotypes within the family are often replicated at the community level, as well as across other institutions such as schools, the workplace and other governance systems more broadly.

LAC countries have undergone a series of major transformations in the family sphere (Gasparini and Marchionni, 2012[6]). Fertility rates have dropped since the 1980s and the regional average fertility rate has converged with trends seen in developed countries. However, adolescent fertility rates remain high, and women’s age at first marriage has not risen considerably (Cabella et al., 2018[7]). These changes have been accompanied by an increase in cohabitation and informal unions, and a decrease in formal marriages. Furthermore, female headship has been steadily increasing in rural and urban areas, regardless of women’s educational background and level (CAF, 2018[8]). These transformations influence intra-household decisions and shape women’s economic and political empowerment opportunities in the LAC region.

“Discrimination in the family” is the most challenging dimension in all LAC sub-regions, underscoring the presence of deep social discrimination governing intra-household dynamics between men and women (see Chapter 3). The region has a medium level of discrimination3 in this dimension, with a dimension score of 31, exceeding the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 26. Discrimination in this dimension is slightly more prevalent in South America (32) than in Central America and the Caribbean (31) (Figure 1.4). The poor performance of the three LAC sub-regions stems from weak legal frameworks that fail to legally prevent high rates of child marriage among girls and to ensure men and women’s equal right to be recognised as the head of the household. Within the LAC sub-regions, family laws and social norms define women’s status and roles differently from one country to another. The 29 LAC countries that were scored in this dimension exhibit values ranging from very low to high levels of discrimination. Colombia is the region’s top performer in this dimension with a score of 10, thanks to a comprehensive legal framework granting women the same rights as men in the family sphere.

One of the distinguishing aspects of LAC countries compared with countries in other regions of the world is that women in the LAC region enjoy formal equality before the law regarding inheritance rights. This is a legal tradition rooted in colonial rule whereby all children, regardless of their sex, inherit equally from both of their parents (Deere and León de Leal, 2001[9]). “Inheritance” is therefore the indicator with the lowest level of discrimination in the “Discrimination in the family” dimension, with an average regional score of 12, indicating low levels of discrimination compared to very low levels of discrimination in OECD countries with a score of 7. The level of discrimination in this indicator ranges from a score of 10 in the Caribbean to 16 in Central America. Eighteen countries had a score of 0 in this indicator, showing that women have the same rights as men to inherit land and non-land assets. However, in eight countries,4 some customary, religious or traditional practices or laws limit women’s legal rights to inherit assets. Furthermore, Costa Rica, Dominica and Paraguay have medium levels of discrimination in this indicator, with scores of 50, demonstrating that inheritance rights do not apply equally to all groups of women.

LAC countries perform relatively well in the “Divorce” indicator. This is largely the result of comprehensive legal frameworks guaranteeing women’s rights to divorce. Overall, the region scores 19, indicating low levels of gender-based discrimination, although this still exceeds the OECD average of 11. The scores range from 15 in the Caribbean to 23 in South America. While some LAC countries (e.g. the Dominican Republic and Ecuador) granted women the right to divorce by mutual agreement at the beginning of the 20th century, many did not grant these rights until the mid-20th century or later (e.g. Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia) (O’Connor, n.d.[10]). Eighteen countries had a score of 0 in this indicator, demonstrating that women and men have the same legal rights to initiate divorce, with the same grounds and evidential requirements for divorce or annulment. Five countries5 display low levels of discrimination in this indicator, with scores of 25. In these countries, discriminatory practices slow progress towards gender equality in terms of divorce proceedings or parental authority after divorce. While Costa Rica and Paraguay share medium levels of discrimination, Grenada, Peru and Venezuela all score 75, displaying a poor performance in this indicator because, under certain circumstances, parental authority after divorce is automatically assigned to women. Mexico displays a very high level of discrimination in this indicator, due to the fact that, unlike men, women must wait 300 days after a divorce before being allowed to remarry in some states.

The persistence of legal loopholes associated with discriminatory practices towards girls perpetuates child marriage in LAC countries. The region displays medium levels of discrimination in the “Child marriage” indicator, with a score of 34, which is slightly above the OECD average of 27. The score ranges from 31 in the Caribbean to 36 in South America, as 22 LAC countries allow girls to marry before the age of 18 years with parental consent. Child marriage stands out as a cause for concern in the region, as approximately 16% of girls aged 15-19 years are married or are in informal unions. Child marriage rates vary across LAC sub-regions: the practice is less common in the Caribbean (14%) and South America (15%) than in Central America (20%). Panama is the region’s top performer in the child marriage indicator, with a score of 2, and it ranks 4th globally. Its national legal framework sets the minimum legal age for marriage at 18 years for both girls and boys without exception. At 4%, the prevalence of child marriage in Panama is far below both the Central American average (20%) and the regional and global averages (16%).

Responsibility for household tasks and caregiving is the most pervasive and acute form of discrimination against women in the family sphere. The LAC region’s average score in this indicator is 51, indicating a high level of discrimination; the average score of OECD member countries in this indicator is 49. Within the LAC region, South America scores 48, Central America scores 50 and the Caribbean scores 56. Twenty-five countries had a score of 50 in this indicator, showing that there are no laws explicitly regulating household headship. Chile, Dominica and Grenada display high levels of discrimination in this indicator, with scores of 75, denoting legal discrimination against women in terms of household headship or parental authority. Colombia is the region’s best performer, which is the result of its comprehensive legal framework. Attitudinal data reveal that women in the LAC region are often confined to traditional reproductive roles and caring responsibilities. For instance, 52% of the population believes that children will suffer when a mother is in paid employment. In addition, women continue to shoulder the burden of unpaid care and domestic work, allocating five hours per day to it, compared with one-and-a-half hours for men.

Since the last edition of the SIGI in 2014, some LAC countries have taken steps to recognise, redistribute and reduce women’s caring responsibilities:

  • Colombia and Mexico have started to make unpaid care work visible by measuring women’s economic contribution to their national economies. Data from time-use surveys revealed that unpaid care activities would constitute approximately 20% of these countries’ GDP (Ferrant and Thim, 2019[11]).

  • Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru have formally acknowledged the key economic contribution of women’s unpaid care work. For instance, Costa Rica passed the law No. 9325, Ley de contabilización del aporte del trabajo doméstico no remunerado (Law on accounting the contribution of unpaid housework to the national economy), mandating the collection of time-use surveys at least every three years to account for the care economy in the system of national accounts.

  • In Mexico and Uruguay, time-use surveys were used to inform and guide policy makers, and monitor the advancement and the impact of specific labour, social and care policies (Data 2X, 2018[12]).

  • Other LAC countries have implemented public policies on care-related issues in order to achieve equality in unpaid care work and promote men’s greater participation in the household. These measures include the provision of paid paternity leave schemes (e.g. in Chile, Cuba and Uruguay) and the creation or expansion of affordable or free childcare services and facilities (e.g. in Colombia, Costa Rica and Uruguay).

LAC governments have recently strengthened their national legal frameworks to prevent child marriage, one of the region’s major issues. Seven countries have passed legislation setting the minimum legal age for marriage at 18 years for both boys and girls with no exceptions. In 2015, the National Assembly of Ecuador voted in favour of a bill reforming the Civil Code of Ecuador, and raised the minimum legal age for marriage from 12 years for girls and 14 years for boys to 18 years for both girls and boys after Plan International Ecuador led a campaign called Por Ser Niña (Because I am a Girl).

Legal reforms outlawing child marriage have not yet been translated into real changes for women and girls in the LAC region. Compared with other geographical regions, the LAC region is the only one that has seen no significant reduction in child marriages since the 1990s. On average, one out of every six girls gets married or enters into an informal union before the age of 18 years. If current rates of child marriage continue, 20 million more girls will become child brides by 2030 in LAC countries (UNICEF, 2018[13]).

Not all girls face the same risk of becoming child brides. In the LAC region, low socio-economic status and educational levels, as well as belonging to minority groups, increase the likelihood of a girl being married before the age of 18 years (UNICEF, 2019[14]). Half of child brides have no formal education, compared with 18% of them who have attended secondary school or higher education. Child marriage is also concentrated among medium- and low-income population groups: 39% of underage marriage occurs in the poorest quintile, compared with 8% in the richest quintile. In addition, the practice of early marriage is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, as more than 35% of child brides live in rural areas, compared with 22% in urban areas (UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women, 2018[15]).

The sharing of household chores is still uneven in LAC countries. Data from national time-use surveys show that women spend three times as long as men on unpaid care and domestic work in the region. Women in the poorest quintile spend approximately six hours on these activities per day, compared with two-and-a-half hours for women in the richest quintile, showing that access to goods and services such as home technology and paid care services can ease the burden of household chores. Stalled progress in household work equality has hindered women’s advancement in other spheres of life as well. In the LAC region, one-half of the economically inactive women aged 20-24 years mentioned their household responsibilities as a reason for not seeking work (Alfers, 2015[16]).

Numerous factors restrict women’s rights to have control over their bodies. Restrictions on physical integrity prevent women from pursuing their goals in the public and private spheres, free from fear of physical, emotional, sexual, economic and reproductive violence. As such, respect for and protection of women’s physical integrity constitutes a vital precondition for achieving gender equality.

Restrictions on women’s physical integrity violate their right to a life free from all forms of violence and the power to make their own decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and rights. In deeply engrained patriarchal systems, women’s physical integrity continues to be defined through men’s expectations and traditional masculine norms. For instance, violence against women often stems from patriarchal norms that perpetuate men’s acceptance of, and right to, perpetrate violence. According to such norms, women are expected to be “compliant, silent and good” and should accept men’s right to perpetrate violence.

In the LAC region, masculine and feminine norms and behaviours are shaped by motherhood and machismo. These traditional social norms create a hierarchy where the control of women’s bodies is predominantly determined by conservative values that inhibit women’s advancement and autonomy regarding their sexual and reproductive health and rights (Craske and Molyneux, 2002[17]).

In the LAC region, women’s physical integrity is limited by gender-based violence and restricted reproductive autonomy (see Chapter 4). Overall, the LAC region has a low level of discrimination in the “Restricted physical integrity” dimension, with a score of 22, which exceeds the OECD average of 12. Yet, at the sub-regional level, average scores range from 18 in South America and 24 in Central America, both of which are classified as having low levels of discrimination, to 27 in the Caribbean, which has a medium level of discrimination (Figure 1.5). The “Restricted physical integrity” dimension has scores for only 18 countries due to limited data availability on the prevalence of domestic violence – a key variable in the “Violence against women” indicator. Scores in the “Restricted physical integrity” dimension range from 11 in Uruguay to 37 in Haiti, which lacks specific legislation on intimate partner violence and presents a high female acceptance rate of domestic violence (59%, compared with 1% in Uruguay).

The good regional performance in the “Missing women” and “Female genital mutilation” indicators demonstrates that these phenomena are not prominent issues in the LAC region. Throughout the region, all countries exhibit a natural sex ratio at birth, proving an apparent absence of a systematic undervaluation of female children. There is no statistical indication that the practice of female genital mutilation is common in the region, despite some evidence – notably in Colombia – suggesting that it may be practised in some indigenous communities. On the other hand, poor performance in the “Violence against women” and “Reproductive autonomy” indicators show that these areas constitute the most salient issues in the region.

The LAC region’s average SIGI score in the “Reproductive autonomy” indicator is 40, based on available data from 28 countries.6 The regional average level of discrimination exceeds the OECD average of 13, demonstrating that restricted reproductive autonomy is a particularly acute problem in the LAC region. Sub-regional average scores in this indicator range from 31 in South America to 52 in Central America, and are due to highly restrictive legal frameworks. Four countries7 have legal frameworks that score 100 due to their full prohibition of abortion, and 12 countries8 score 75, as the conditions for women to obtain an abortion are highly restrictive. Only Cuba, Guyana and Uruguay have a score of 0, having legalised abortion on request. Access to modern contraception remains challenging. Across the region, an average of 11% of women still have an unmet need for family planning, with figures ranging from 10% in South America to 19% in the Caribbean. The comparable figure in OECD countries is 10%.

Violence against women is also an important issue in the LAC region. The regional average score of 33 for the “Violence against women” indicator is the second highest across the four “Restricted physical integrity” indicators in the LAC region, although it is lower than the global average of 40. This performance is mainly due to the fact that no LAC country has a legal framework that provides women with comprehensive protection from all forms of violence, from rape to domestic violence and sexual harassment. Gender norms – especially machismo and marianismo – play an important role in domestic violence by upholding attitudes that justify this behaviour. In the LAC region, 27% of women have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, a share that ranges from 16% in Central America to 33% in South America. At the regional level, 11% of women (aged 15-49 years) agree that a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife under certain circumstances. This figure varies at the sub-regional level, ranging from 6% in Central America to 20% in the Caribbean, alluding to differences in gender norms and what is considered “normal” in intimate partnerships.

Recent reforms have introduced new legal frameworks protecting women from more types of violence against women:

  • Since 2014, seven countries9 have enacted at least one new law addressing gender-based violence. For instance, Paraguay expanded the types of domestic abuse covered by its legislation to prevent and punish sexual and economic abuse, and both Paraguay and Uruguay passed laws with the scope to prevent and penalise marital rape.

  • The majority of new legislation expands protections against harassment: Panama, Paraguay and Peru took action to ensure that the legal definition of sexual harassment covers cyber harassment, while Chile, Mexico, Panama and Peru expanded sexual harassment legislation to protect women in public places.

Femicide, the most extreme form of violence against women, is gaining attention from governments. The Ni Una Menos (Not one [woman] less) movement started as a protest against femicide, and many governments have made legislative changes to ensure that women are protected from this hate crime:

  • In the LAC region, 18 countries10 have passed or amended laws to punish femicide by classifying it as a crime, and countries are pursuing innovative ways to stop femicides. For example, Panama, Uruguay and some states in Mexico are using electronic surveillance devices to ensure that protective orders are not violated (ECLAC, 2018[18]).

In addition to legal changes, the prevalence of reported domestic violence in the LAC region is decreasing, thanks to shifting social norms which raise awareness that this behaviour is unacceptable:

  • In the LAC region, the percentage of ever-partnered women who have suffered violence from an intimate partner at least once in their lifetime decreased by 9 percentage points, from 36% in 2014 to 27% in 2018.

  • In some countries, the decline has been considerable. For example, the percentage decreased by 29 percentage points in Chile and by 15 percentage points in Jamaica.11

  • Nevertheless, in Brazil and the Dominican Republic, the prevalence of domestic violence increased by three percentage points between 2014 and 2019,12 and it increased by nearly one percentage point in Haiti over the same period.

  • Some countries have seen tremendous improvement in attitudes towards domestic violence. For example, in Mexico, Uruguay and Brazil, the percentage of women who believe domestic violence is sometimes justified dropped by 11, 8 and 6 percentage points, respectively, between 2014 and 2018. By contrast, in Argentina, Guatemala, Haiti and Jamaica, the share of women with such views increased.13

Efforts led by women’s organisations in the LAC region have gained traction and sparked a public discussion about reproductive rights. The region is characterised by strong feminist movements, which have advocated both recently and historically for women’s physical integrity:

  • In Argentina, in 2018, a proposed legislation which sought to allow for the voluntary interruption of pregnancy was passed in the lower house of the Argentine National Congress but failed in the Senate. This sparked a mass movement, referred to by some as a “Green Wave” or a “Green Tide” after the bandanas worn by supporters. This mobilisation spread throughout the region and demonstrated the aspirations of millions of women to have reproductive autonomy.

No country in the LAC region has a comprehensive legal framework protecting women from all forms of gender-based violence. A comprehensive approach means that women are protected from various forms of domestic violence and sexual harassment, and that there are legal provisions for the investigation, prosecution and punishment of these crimes, as well as protection and support services for survivors. Some of the most common gaps in legislation relate to sexual harassment in particular. For example, 13 countries14 do not have laws that prescribe criminal penalties for this behaviour, and four countries15 define it as a crime only in the workplace, thus leaving women vulnerable in educational institutions and public spaces.

In most cases, men are the perpetrators of violence against women. Consequently, if change is to happen, it is essential to focus attention on the ways some men act and seek to prove their masculinity, and to demonstrate the connection between such actions and violence against women. For some men, violence against women serves as a means to enforce their superiority and reinforce their male identity (Flake and Forste, 2006[19]). In addition to violence, risk-taking behaviours, such as drug and alcohol use and abuse, are commonly associated with hyper-masculinity and can make violence more prevalent. More than half of women who experienced domestic violence in Ecuador in 2004, and nearly 30% of women who experienced domestic violence in Guatemala in 2008-09, reported that their partner’s drug and alcohol use played a role in the situation (Bott et al., 2012[20]). Furthermore, the commonness of firearms ownership and possession significantly increases the risk of femicide (Campbell et al., 2003[21]).

Abortion is still illegal in El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua, and in six LAC countries16 abortion is only permitted in order to save a woman’s life. Moreover, Chile is the only LAC country that has made a change since 2017: Act 21.030 expanded the circumstances in which women can seek legal abortions to include cases where the woman’s life is at stake, the foetus is non-viable, or the pregnancy is the result of rape. Furthermore, in 2018, the Constitutional Court of Colombia rejected an attempt to impose limits on abortion, which is legal in a small range of circumstances (Judgment SU-096/18). Restrictive abortion laws push women to have unsafe abortions, which represents a risk to their life and a cost to the public health system (Guttmacher Institute, 2018[22]).

Without adequate access to family planning, the LAC region has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancy in the world (Bearak et al., 2018[23]). In the LAC region, there are an estimated 14 million unintended pregnancies each year, and the region has one of the highest rates of adolescent pregnancy in the world, at 66.5 births per 1 000 girls aged 15-19 years (Guttmacher Institute, 2018[22]); (PAHO and WHO, n.d.[24]). While most LAC countries have adopted declarations outlining women’s universal rights to health and health coverage, unintended pregnancies continue; however, access to family planning is not the same for all women, and society’s most marginalised women continue to face some of the most difficult barriers in accessing these services. The use of modern contraceptive methods is 20% lower among indigenous women than among the general population, and 7% lower among poor women than among wealthy women (Fagan et al., 2017[25]).

Access to productive and financial resources is essential for women in order for them to have control over economic and productive means. Equal access between men and women also ensures equal opportunities in the labour environment in terms of remuneration, participation and representation in managerial positions. Throughout the world, gender inequality in ownership and control of land and other productive resources is closely related to women’s poverty and exclusion (UNHCR and UN Women, 2013[26]).

Restrictions on access to economic assets combined with gender discrimination in the workplace perpetuate the economic submission of women. It often stems from norms related to masculinities and the deeply socially entrenched traditional narrative that men should be the implicit heads of household and primary financial providers, with full control over their families’ economic tools and assets. Social norms and practices opposing women working in paid employment are also strongly linked with the traditional role of women as unpaid caregivers within the household. Such views and restrictions are sometimes reinforced by other types of social discrimination in terms of inheritance, divorce and marriage laws. Women’s inability to own land and non-land assets, as well as the lack of formal ownership – primarily in the form of an official land title –, can have direct consequences on their access to capital and credit as collateral.

In the LAC region, women’s economic empowerment and independence are primarily restricted by legal frameworks that limit their access to, and protection in, the labour market (see Chapter 5). The LAC region has a relatively low level of discrimination,17 with a SIGI score of 23 in the “Restricted access to productive and financial resources” dimension – this is lower than the world average of 27, but above the OECD average of 13. Yet, at the sub-regional level, scores vary from 18 in the Caribbean to 20 in Central America and 27 in South America (Figure 1.6). The Caribbean sub-region benefits from strong and advanced legal frameworks in terms of access to, control of and decision-making power over land and non-land assets as well as financial services. Conversely, South America mainly suffers from weak legal frameworks governing women’s rights in the workplace environment. In particular, many South American countries continue to prohibit women from entering certain professions. Nevertheless, women in South America enjoy widespread access to financial services and are well represented in managerial positions.

The 21 LAC countries that were scored in this dimension exhibit very diverse scores. Eight countries18 do not have a score in the “Restricted access to productive and financial resources” dimension because of missing data. Scores in the “Restricted access to productive and financial resources” dimension range from 6 in Peru, the region’s top performer (denoting a very low level of discrimination), to 65 in Chile, denoting a high level of discrimination. Peru’s good performance primarily stems from a strong legal framework that grants women equal access to productive and financial resources. At the same time, social norms and attitudes appear progressive: only 5% of the Peruvian population agreed that it is not acceptable for any woman in their family to have a paid job outside the home if she wants to. Conversely, Chile’s score is primarily the result of discriminatory legal frameworks that, by default, systematically establish the legal presumption that the husband is the head of the household and controls the administration of marital property.

In the “Secure access to financial services” indicator, LAC countries perform well: the region’s comprehensive legal frameworks, supported by numerous microfinance initiatives, translate into high levels of women’s financial inclusion. Overall, the LAC region scores 9 in this indicator, indicating very low levels of discrimination, compared with 13 at the global level and 2 for OECD countries. It ranges from a very low average score of 5 in South America to 8 in the Caribbean and 15 in Central America. Argentina, Belize and Bolivia are the top performers, with no discrimination whatsoever in this indicator. The LAC region’s legal frameworks extensively protect women’s rights to access financial services in 17 countries,19 while another 11 countries20 have comprehensive laws with only minor loopholes. These strong legal frameworks translate into a high level of women’s account ownership, but the financial gender gap – that is, the difference between the rates of account ownership among men and women – remains important (15 percentage points). In six LAC countries,21 it is greater than 10 percentage points. Only three countries – Argentina, Belize and Bolivia – in the LAC region display negative gender parity differences, meaning that a higher share of women than men have an account at a financial institution (World Bank, 2017[27]).

The LAC region performs well in the “Secure access to land assets” indicator, with a low level of discrimination and an average score of 19, compared with a world average of 27 and an OECD average of 11. While the Caribbean and Central America have scores of 15 and 16, respectively, South America’s score of 25 indicates a medium level of discrimination. The region remains largely divided between two groups of countries. On the one hand, a large group of countries have eliminated all forms of discrimination in their legal frameworks, although many of them continue to struggle with the existence of customary, religious or traditional practices or laws. For instance, in ten countries,22 the level of discrimination in this indicator is 0, highlighting the fact that women and men have the same legal rights and opportunities in terms of land asset ownership. On the other hand, the second group of countries – comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Chile, Dominica, Ecuador, and Paraguay – have laws which continue to discriminate against women (OECD Development Centre, 2019[28]).

Sex-disaggregated land ownership rates show wide discrepancies across countries, as well as important imbalances between men and women. In all of the LAC countries for which data are available, men are overrepresented as landowners, pointing towards gender-based discrimination. Women’s share in the total number of agricultural holders ranges from around 30% in Chile, Jamaica and Peru, to less than 10% in Belize and Guatemala (OECD Development Centre, 2019[28]).

The LAC region’s performance in the “Access to non-land assets” indicator is better than the global average, but striking differences exist across sub-regions and countries, stemming from inadequate legal frameworks. The LAC region scores 20 in the “Secure access to non-land assets” indicator, 4 points below the world average score but 12 points above the OECD average. Scores range from 9 in Central America to 18 in the Caribbean and 30 in South America. Out of 29 LAC countries, 16 countries23 – mostly located in the Caribbean and, to a lesser extent, in Central America – have eradicated all forms of legal discrimination related to women’s access to non-land assets. Conversely, the remaining 13 countries have weak legal frameworks. In most cases, provisions in the law or legal loopholes do not guarantee women the same rights as men to own, use and make decisions over property and non-land assets. For instance, Chile scores 100, mostly because the law grants administrative rights over a household’s assets to the husband, and Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Ecuador each score 75 because of certain loopholes that do not guarantee the same rights for either married or unmarried women to possess, make decisions about, or use as collateral non-land assets.

The “Workplace rights” indicator constitutes the most severe issue within the “Restricted access to productive and financial resources” dimension in the LAC region. The region’s average score reaches 35 – compared with 27 in OECD countries –, indicating a medium level of discrimination. It ranges from 29 in Central America to 36 in the Caribbean and 39 in South America. Variations in the countries’ levels of discrimination across the region and sub-regions are important. Guatemala scores 7 in the “Workplace rights” indicator, which puts the country in 2nd place in this indicator globally. Conversely, six countries24 score higher than 50 in the “Workplace rights” indicator, including Chile, which scores 58. These countries’ relatively high levels of discrimination for “Workplace rights” primarily derive from important legal loopholes that prohibit women from entering certain professions, and from a lack of laws guaranteeing equal remuneration for work of equal value.

Conversely, attitude- and practice-based variables in the “Workplace rights” indicator show low levels of discrimination. For instance, in the LAC region, 8% of the population disagrees with women working outside the home for pay, compared with 17% at the global level and 4% in OECD countries. The proportion ranges from 5% in South America to 14% in the Caribbean (OECD Development Centre, 2019[28]). Similarly, the proportion of female managers is 38% at the regional level, which is nearly 14 percentage points above the world average (OECD Development Centre, 2019[28]).

Since the 3rd edition of the SIGI in 2014, the LAC region has experienced many legal advances which improve the protection of women’s workplace rights:

  • In 2014, Bolivia and Panama passed legislation that banned sexual harassment in employment, and established clear criminal penalties and civil remedies for such cases.

  • In Bolivia, the law changed in 2015 to ensure that a woman can get a job in the same way as a man, without seeking first permission from her husband.

  • Decisions from the Constitutional Court of Colombia have begun to rescind some existing legal provisions preventing women from accessing certain jobs, such as working in subsurface mines (Corte Constitucional de Colombia, n.d.[29]).

  • In 2019, Costa Rica amended its Labour Code and eliminated the prohibition for women to work in night shifts (Gobierno de Costa Rica, 2019[30]).

Most of the progress that has been achieved has been focused on introducing or extending maternity and paternity leave schemes:

  • In 2014, Bolivia and El Salvador, followed by Nicaragua in 2016 and Panama in 2018, introduced new legislation guaranteeing paid paternity leave.

  • In 2017, El Salvador, Paraguay and Peru, followed by the Dominican Republic in 2018, extended existing maternity leave schemes, improving their duration and coverage.

  • In 2014, Mexico strengthened its legal framework regarding pregnancy discrimination in the workplace through a court ruling prohibiting the dismissal of employees due to pregnancy or motherhood, and guaranteeing pregnant workers job security (Semanario Judicial de la Federación, 2014[31]).25 Mexico’s Supreme Court later confirmed the initial court ruling in 2017 (Semanario Judicial de la Federación, 2017[32]).

In 2017, Ecuador successfully changed the law to grant men and married women equal ownership rights to immovable property, but restrictions continue to exist over the ownership and use of non-land assets.

Finally, women’s financial inclusion has improved since 2014. As discussed above, the gender gap in terms of access to financial services remains important, but started to decrease in several countries across the region. According to data from the 2017 Global Findex database, between 2014 and 2017, the gender gap closed by 7 and 8 percentage points in Bolivia and Guatemala, respectively. It also decreased in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Haiti, Uruguay and Venezuela (World Bank, 2017[27]).

Furthermore, not only parity improved; women’s financial inclusion across the LAC region also made significant progress. The share of women who have an account at a financial institution increased in 16 countries26 of the 20 for which 2017 data are available (World Bank, 2017[27]):

  • In Uruguay and Venezuela, the share of women who have an account at a financial institution went up by 19 and 17 percentage points, respectively.

  • The share increased by 14 percentage points in both Bolivia and Honduras.

Legal frameworks largely fail to protect women comprehensively, as more than two-thirds of LAC countries have laws and regulations that contain loopholes, weakening the women’s protection in their working environment. For instance, 11 LAC countries27 have legal frameworks that do not guarantee equality between men and women in the workplace, creating labour market barriers. In these countries, laws explicitly prevent women from entering certain professions. Similarly, seven countries28 have legal frameworks that do not explicitly mandate for equal remuneration between men and women for work of equal value. Meanwhile, most LAC countries fail to guarantee parental leave for both mothers and fathers.

In parallel, social norms and stereotypes continue to diminish the effect of policies designed to promote women’s equality in the workplace. Gender norms incentivise women to join certain fields over others, further amplifying existing gender pay gaps due to sectoral concentration. For instance, in Colombia, evidence uncovered that among recent graduates, the type of occupation accounts for 3-4% of the gender wage gap at the beginning of one’s career, before promotions, experience and interruptions even take place (Emiliani et al., 2014[33]). Similarly, studies found that women often choose careers that will allow them to fulfil their desire for motherhood, thus also contributing to sectoral concentration (Agüero, Marks and Raykar, 2017[34]; ILO, 2019[35]). Social norms also strongly contribute to assigning a predetermined role to women and mothers in society. In the ten LAC countries29 where these data exist, the proportion of individuals who agree with the statement “If a woman earns more money than her husband, it is almost certain to cause problems” exceeds 30% (OECD Development Centre, 2019[28]). In Brazil and Ecuador, this proportion stands at around 60% of the population, while it reaches 68% in Argentina. Similarly, on average, more than one-half of the LAC population believes that being a housewife is just as fulfilling as working for pay.

The persistence of customary, religious or traditional practices or laws in spite of legislation that is favourable towards women constitutes a severe obstacle in guaranteeing women’s access to land and non-land assets. Only two LAC countries30 have legal frameworks that discriminate against women over men in terms of land ownership. Similarly, only five LAC countries31 still have laws that discriminate against women, or at least some groups of women, in terms of their rights to ownership of non-land assets. Yet, traditional views throughout the region continue to consider the male head of household as the primary owner and decision maker regarding the administration of the household’s assets. Similarly, many LAC countries display customary, religious or traditional practices or laws that favour the inheritance of assets from fathers to sons, often undermining the rights of daughters and married women. Finally, the absence in many countries of sex-disaggregated land titling records complicates the assessment of women’s land ownership and contributes to perpetuating these unofficial discriminatory practices. Overall, the SIGI has determined that such discriminatory traditional practices regarding land assets exist in 17 LAC countries,32 and in 8 countries33 for non-land assets.

Moreover, discriminatory customary, religious or traditional practices or laws in relation to the “Secure access to land assets” and “Secure access to non-land assets” indicators are compounded by intersectional discrimination, particularly for indigenous, rural or poor women. For instance, indigenous women often face a double burden: on the one hand, they lack legal recognition regarding their ownership of, and decision-making power over, traditional land; on the other hand, they face discriminatory social norms and practices within their own communities. The new global demand for specialised traditional products, such as quinoa, has also made indigenous women’s land rights increasingly precarious. For instance, evidence from fieldwork studies in Bolivia and Colombia demonstrates that this increasing global demand generates intense pressure on agricultural development, which jeopardises indigenous women’s traditional access to the land. Because they often lack the formal land titles necessary in order to legally justify their traditional occupation of agricultural plots, they are highly vulnerable, especially to land-grabbing practices (Bose, 2017[36]).

Civil liberties represent the basic freedoms granted to a country’s citizens. In the SIGI framework, the “Restricted civil liberties” dimension specifically looks at whether women and men have equal access to, and participation and voice in, the public and social spheres. Discriminatory laws, along with the perception that public spaces are unsafe for women, restrict women’s access to public spaces. Moreover, in practice, women in some countries are discriminated against in terms of citizenship rights and access to justice, and they remain underrepresented in political leadership.

Discriminatory laws undermine women’s ability to be equal citizens to men, and generally to participate as equal actors in the public sphere. Laws that continue to define women’s citizenship rights in relation to their marital status mean they do not benefit from the same rights as men. Such laws can also restrict women applying for national identity cards or passports. The absence of legal quotas or measures promoting equal participation in the political sphere is also an impediment to ensuring that women’s and men’s voices are similarly heard.

Discriminatory social norms reinforce the gender divide in the “Restricted civil liberties” dimension. Traditional gender stereotypes focusing on women’s role in the household do not support the idea of a more active civil engagement of women, for instance through association membership or political activism. At the same time, negative attitudes towards women political leaders permeate the LAC region and are reflected in the occurrence of violence against women politicians. Similarly, women’s low feeling of security when walking alone at night contributes to restrictions on their ability to safely access public spaces.

“Restricted civil liberties” is the dimension in which the LAC region scores the best, with a relatively low level of discrimination (see Chapter 6). The average SIGI score is 20 across the 21 LAC countries for which data are available, compared with an OECD average of 17 and a global average of 29 (Figure 1.7). The “Restricted civil liberties” dimension shows varying scores at the sub-regional level. Central America and South America exhibit low levels of discrimination, with scores of 18. These sub-regions benefit from strong legal frameworks that protect women from social discrimination in terms of political participation, conferring their citizenship and applying for official and travel documents. Both sub-regions also show a high level of women’s political representation in their countries’ parliaments. Conversely, the Caribbean displays a medium level of discrimination in the “Restricted civil liberties” dimension, with a score of 30, primarily because of weak legal frameworks in these same areas. Furthermore, more than 50% of women declare not feeling safe walking alone at night in the LAC countries for which data are available.

At the country level, scores range from 6 in Nicaragua, the LAC region’s top performer (which also ranks 4th globally in the “Restricted civil liberties” dimension), to 59 in Haiti. Nicaragua’s score can be partly explained by the strong legal framework that guarantees women equal rights to citizenship, which is not the case for Haiti.

“Access to justice” is the indicator with the least discrimination in the LAC region, with an average score of 10 in the region, compared with 5 for OECD countries and 18 globally. The level of discrimination in this indicator ranges from a score of 3 in the Caribbean to 13 in both Central America and South America. In all LAC countries, legal frameworks grant women and men the same rights to provide testimony in court, hold public or political offices in the judiciary, and sue and be sued. Nevertheless, in five countries,34 some customary and traditional practices or laws remain and discriminate against women regarding their ability to access justice.

Despite a strong legal framework, most LAC countries’ compliance levels with the rule of law are insufficient, and citizens’ perception of the delivery of civil justice is low (OECD/CAF/UN ECLAC, 2018[37]). On average, 61% of people in the LAC region do not trust the judicial systems of their respective countries (OECD Development Centre, 2019[28]). There are also declining levels of overall trust and satisfaction among LAC citizens, which deepens social disengagement: almost 64% have no confidence in their national governments, and 75% believe their institutions are corrupt (OECD et al., 2019[38]).

In the “Citizenship rights” indicator, the LAC region is performing very well, except for the Caribbean sub-region. The LAC region’s average score of 15 is significantly lower than the global average of 28, but is higher than the OECD average of 2. At the sub-regional level, scores range from 5 in South America and 9 in Central America, indicating very low levels of discrimination, to 30 in the Caribbean. Almost all LAC countries perform very well in this indicator.35 This good performance stems from strong legal frameworks that protect citizenship rights. For instance, with the exception of Haiti, all LAC countries’ laws provide men and women with equal rights to acquire, change or retain their nationality. Haiti is also the only country in the region where the law does not provide married women with the same rights as married men to retain their nationality or apply for passports. Similarly, with the exceptions of the Bahamas and Barbados, all LAC countries provide women with the same rights as men to confer their nationality to their spouse or children. Finally, all LAC countries except Barbados provide married women with the same rights as men to register the birth of their children.

In the “Freedom of movement” indicator, the LAC region scores 20, in line with the OECD average of 21 and slightly below the global average of 24. Scores at sub-regional level vary from 16 in South America and 17 in Central America, to 32 in the Caribbean. The Caribbean’s relatively poor performance in this indicator is due to legal restrictions on women’s freedom of movement. More specifically, in five36 of the ten countries in the sub-region, women do not have the same rights as men to apply for national identity cards or passports, or to travel outside the country. However, despite a relatively low level of legal discrimination in the LAC region for this indicator, women across the region generally have a low perceived sense of security. In all countries, women account for more than 50% of the respondents who declare not feeling safe walking alone at night – this ranged from 51% in Haiti to 70% in Guatemala (Gallup, 2017[39]).

“Political voice” is the indicator with the highest level of discrimination in the region. The SIGI indicates a regional average score of 39, denoting a medium level of discrimination, and positioning the region below the global average score of 44 but above the OECD average score of 35. The level of discrimination in this indicator ranges from 32 in South America and 33 in Central America, to a high of 50 in the Caribbean. The high levels of discrimination found in the “Political voice” indicator stem from a combination of poor performance in the two variables composing the indicator: legal framework and practices. In nine LAC countries37 (eight of which are in the Caribbean), the law does not mandate legal quotas – i.e. special measures and incentives for political parties to promote women’s political participation. The region also displays wide variations between countries: Nicaragua is the region’s top performer with a score of 4, while levels of discrimination are high in Belize, which scores 67. Nicaragua has a strong legal framework protecting women’s political voice and women comprise 46% of the country’s parliament, while Belize does not have any legal quotas or special measures facilitating women’s political representation, and women’s representation in parliament is below 10%. Overall, 14 LAC countries38 score higher than 40 in this indicator.

Important discriminatory practices and norms across the LAC region prevent women and girls from fully participating in their country’s political life and explain the unequal gender representation in parliaments. Despite the fact that in 2018, four LAC countries39 were among the top ten countries in the world in terms of women’s representation in parliament, the average level of women’s political participation across the LAC region remains insufficient. In some countries, women’s representation in parliament is almost non-existent. In Haiti, for instance, 98% of parliamentarians are men; the share of men in parliament in Belize and Brazil reaches 91% and 89%, respectively. Negative attitudes towards women political leaders also persist, representing an additional challenge for women to engage in politics.

Since the 3rd edition of the SIGI in 2014, the LAC region has strengthened its legal frameworks to promote women’s political participation at national and local levels:

  • Across the LAC region, 19 countries40 out of the 29 have legislated quotas at either the national and/or sub-national level, compared with 15 out of the 22 countries assessed in the 2014 edition. In particular, since 2014, Chile, Nicaragua and Venezuela have enacted legislative quotas at either the national or sub-national level. For instance, in 2015, Chile’s Congress introduced a bill on constitutional reform that included a gender quota. However, the quota only applies to parliamentary electoral processes during the 2017, 2021, 2025 and 2029 elections (International IDEA, n.d.[40]).

Women’s representation has also increased since 2014, both in the political and judicial spheres:

  • More women are participating in politics. The proportion of women in parliament in the LAC region reached 30% in 2018 (OECD Development Centre, 2019[28]). The 2018 regional average for women in parliament is higher than the global average of 24% and similar to the OECD average of 29%. The most impressive progress is noted in Bolivia, where the number of congresswomen jumped from 50 to 86 parliamentarians between 2014 and 2018 (Americas Society/Council of Americas, 2018[41]). Women now account for 53% of Bolivia’s members of parliament. Other advances are visible at country level: in 2018, Colombia elected its first female vice-president (Vicepresidencia de la República de Colombia, n.d.[42]), and Barbados now has its first female prime minister (ECLAC, 2019[43]).

  • More women are also represented in the judicial system: between 2015 and 2018, the share of women sitting on the LAC region’s supreme courts went from 28% to 32%. Cuba, Jamaica and Barbados have among the highest shares of women sitting as judges in their highest courts or supreme courts, with 62%, 68% and 71%, respectively (ECLAC, 2019[44]).

Discriminatory attitudes towards women in politics, combined with political violence directed at women, constitute major obstacles to women’s full and unhindered political participation. Negative attitudes towards women political leaders prevail in the LAC region and strongly contribute to women’s limited influence in the political sphere: in 12 LAC countries,41 27% of the population thinks that overall, men make better political leaders than women. Women also experience more violence and harassment, both as candidates and once elected, than male politicians even in countries with high female representation in parliament. For example, in Bolivia, while women represent 53% of parliamentarians, between 65% and 70% of them have been victims of harassment and political violence (UN Women, 2018[45]). In addition, legislation to protect women from violence in the political sphere is not comprehensive across the LAC region, as it only exists in six countries.42

Similarly, legislation to protect women from violence in public spaces remains limited and weak. Women continue to face threats to their own security, limiting their political influence as well as their education and employment opportunities. As mentioned earlier, women account for the vast majority of the people who declare not feeling safe walking alone at night. The overall regional situation has not changed much since 2014, and women’s feeling of insecurity remains high. Threats to women’s security include harassment and gender-based violence in the streets, workplaces and even the halls of government.

Although women’s representation in the judicial system has increased slightly between 2014 and 2019, women’s confidence in the judicial system’s ability to protect them remains very low. On average in the LAC region, women account for almost 60% of the respondents who do not trust the justice system in their country (Gallup, 2017[39]). Among other consequences, this leads to the underreporting of violence against women. Such underreporting generates biases and errors in the prevalence rates of some phenomena – such as gender-based violence, for instance – which might mislead the design of policies aimed at curbing the effects of these phenomena. Also, the law in six LAC countries43 does not establish a specialised body tasked with monitoring gender equality.

Indigenous women’s rights are insufficiently protected in the area of civil liberties. Brazil is the only country in the LAC region whose Constitution recognises and prohibits multiple/intersectional discrimination. In general, women from rural areas or who are ethnic minorities face additional challenges across the whole region, such as registering the birth of their children, accessing the justice system and participating in politics. For example, many indigenous women in Paraguay do not have birth certificates or identity papers. Moreover, justice systems are often ill-suited to address the specific needs of indigenous communities from a cultural and linguistic point of view. Finally, indigenous women’s political representation is significantly low (Cabrero et al., 2013[46]).

In order to address discriminatory social institutions and build a truly inclusive society, policy makers and all relevant stakeholders across LAC countries need to take action. Each thematic chapter (Chapters 3-6) provides detailed policy options across the SIGI’s 16 indicators. The rest of this section outlines these policy recommendations and develops them across five critical, cross-cutting areas:

  • legal frameworks

  • enforcement mechanisms

  • a holistic and intersectional approach

  • data collection and dissemination

  • communication and awareness.

LAC policy makers need to update their laws according to best international standards in various areas where discriminatory laws continue to hinder women’s and girls’ rights. A number of LAC countries continue to exhibit discriminatory legal frameworks in critical SIGI indicators, such as “Child marriage”, “Violence against women”, “Workplace rights” and “Political voice”. Although reforms are needed across all SIGI dimensions, policy makers should focus in particular on the laws covered by these four indicators, as these are the areas where the SIGI has uncovered the highest levels of legal discrimination across the LAC region.

In the “Child marriage” indicator, countries must set 18 years as the minimum legal age for marriage for girls and boys without any legal exceptions. In Panama, for instance, Article 33 and Article 35 of law No. 30 of 5 May 2015 modified the Family Code to fully prohibit marriage before the age of 18 years, whatever the sex of the contracting party (Gobierno de Panamá​​, 2015[47]).

In the “Violence against women” indicator, countries need to build legal frameworks that comprehensively cover all forms of violence – sexual harassment, domestic violence, rape (including marital rape) and honour crimes. For instance, Bolivia’s 2013 structural law, Ley Integral para Garantizar a las Mujeres una Vida Libre de Violencia (Comprehensive Law to guarantee women a life free from violence), explicitly defines the different types of violence against women, including femicide (Gobierno de Bolivia, 2013[48]). The law contains extensive provisions for the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators of violence against women, and extends the protection to new areas, such as cyber harassment (OECD Development Centre, 2019[49]). Additional tools complement the legislation, including a national plan addressing violence against women (Gobierno de Bolivia, 2001[50]), and fiscal mechanisms to finance the creation of local infrastructure to address the needs of women who have been victims of violence (Gobierno de Bolivia, 2014[51]).

In the “Workplace rights” indicator, governments should remove all legal barriers that restrict women’s labour force participation; develop parental leaves; and mandate equal pay for work of equal value. Peru, for instance – the LAC region’s top performer in the “Restricted access to productive and financial resources” dimension (see Chapter 5) – has an advanced legal framework that specifically mandates equal pay for work of equal value. Article 6 of Law No. 28983 stipulates the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value (Gobierno de Peru, 2007[52]). Article 3 (Title II) and Article 5 (Title III) of the Application Decree No. 30709 further specify the condition of application. The decree requires companies to create labour categories so that there is a clear framework to comply with the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value (Gobierno de Peru, 2018[53]).

In the “Political voice” indicator, policy makers need to put in place transitional or corrective measures to promote women’s equal political participation in all LAC countries. Such measures consist of legal or voluntary quotas (preferably at both national and sub-national levels), parity laws, or alternating the sexes on party lists, as well as financial incentives for political parties. For instance, Nicaragua, the LAC region’s top performer in the “Restricted civil liberties” dimension (see Chapter 6), has implemented various measures to achieve gender balance in politics (Gobierno de Nicaragua, 2000[54]; Gobierno de Nicaragua, 2012[55]). Under the new provision, political parties (or the coalition of political parties which participates in the Central American Parliament), the National Assembly, and municipal elections must present lists of candidates composed of 50% men and 50% women, in a strictly alternating order. Some other examples include Argentina, which was the first country in the LAC region that introduced an electoral quota in 1991, making it mandatory for electoral lists at both national and sub-national levels to have at least 30% women. Failure to comply leads to the invalidation of the list by an electoral judge (OECD Development Centre, 2019[56]). In Chile, political parties are eligible to receive additional state subsidies depending on the number of women elected in parliament (International IDEA, n.d.[40]).

LAC governments must build public and legal capacities in order to ensure adequate enforcement of the law and guarantee legal redress. Once laws are correctly updated and provide penalties and protective measures, policy makers need to ensure that cases of gender-based discrimination are prosecuted and that guilty verdicts are enforced. There are multiple challenges, each of which entails different policy options:

  • Countries need to build law enforcement and judicial capacities in order to investigate and ensure that administrations, companies, organisations, associations, etc. abide by the law and cease any gender-based discriminatory practices. Countries also need to sensitise the existing judicial system to gender discrimination and discriminatory institutions. To do so, policy makers should provide training to the whole legal apparatus, from the personnel in the ministries of justice and offices of the attorneys general to members of the police forces. For instance, in Argentina, Law 27499 (also known as the Micaela Law) establishes the mandatory training and sensitisation of all public officers from the three branches of the government to gender issues and violence against women, under the leadership of the Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres (National Women’s Institute [INM]) (Gobierno de Argentina, 2018[57]). Meanwhile, Barbados has implemented a series of programmes aimed at training police and judicial officers to establish a judicial system that is more responsive to the needs of women, and to enhance women’s access to justice (ECLAC, 2019[43]).

  • At the same time, it is essential that guilty verdicts are enforced and that transgressors are in fact punished. For instance, regarding violence against women, it is of utmost importance that a country’s judges and police forces are able to ensure that potential aggressors respect protective orders. Uruguay, for example, uses satellite monitoring as a preventative measure for violence against women (Frayssinet, 2019[58]). Upon the instruction of a judge, both the aggressor and the victim are given surveillance devices, and if the aggressor approaches the victim, both the police and the victim are alerted (see Chapter 4).

In order to address the issue of intersectionality, it is critical to develop infrastructure and service provision in remote areas to ensure that all women – including rural, indigenous and poor women – have access to services and benefit from public programmes. Many countries have developed novel tools to provide extended services to women across a large range of areas. However, in some instances, these tools do not reach the most vulnerable women, such as rural, indigenous or poor women. The challenge that policy makers face is to bring these services to the most underserved women. For instance, although a success, the establishment of women’s police stations (WPS) in Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Peru remains concentrated in high-density areas or in state capitals, thus preventing rural women from accessing these services. Similarly, language can also hinder indigenous women’s access to such services. Ecuador has devised a solution to these barriers by implementing mobile WPS units to improve access for rural women. (Jubb et al., 2008[59]).

Policy makers, in partnership with CSOs and other grassroots organisations, need to design and scale up programmes, training and workshops aimed at helping girls and women claim their legal rights. Ensuring the enforcement of women’s rights requires improving women’s legal literacy. Legislators should ensure that amendments to legislation around women’s rights are accompanied by legal training, and they should provide the necessary financial resources to support such training. Similarly, policy makers need to work with grassroots organisations and CSOs to develop legal literacy programmes, particularly for the most vulnerable women. Countries should also develop free legal services for women at the community or sub-national level.

Programmes, training and workshops should be designed and scaled up to create free spaces and support networks to discuss the various forms of discrimination and violence that women and girls experience. For instance, in Argentina, Law 27234 of 2015 officially declared a day to mark Educar en Igualdad: Prevención y Erradicación de la Violencia de Género (Educating in Equality: Prevention and Eradication of Gender-based Violence). The day is mandatory and events take place at least once a year in all public and private primary, secondary and third-level educational institutions. It aims to develop and reinforce attitudes, knowledge, values and practices that contribute to eradicating gender-based violence (Gobierno de Argentina, 2015[60]).

Finally, such programmes, training and workshops should aim at developing community-level initiatives to address discriminatory social norms. For instance, in Barbados, both public agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have developed a wide range of community-level and grassroots initiatives aimed at addressing social norms and discriminatory practices affecting women’s and girls’ lives. The National Organisation of Women (NOW) Barbados – a Barbadian NGO – regularly organises community training days to teach entrepreneurs (e.g. hairdressers, barbers) about red flags related to domestic violence. Similarly, in 2018, the Bureau of Gender Affairs collaborated with the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors, the Barbados Association of Professional Social Workers, and women’s NGOs to sensitise secondary school students to the issue of domestic violence and to assist those who might be in violent relationships (ECLAC, 2019[43]).

Policy makers need to systematically incorporate a holistic approach into both legislation and programmes, as most of the challenges faced by women and girls in the LAC region cannot be dealt with in isolation. In order to reach the SDG 5 targets, a whole-of-society approach is required. This whole-of-society approach is both vertically inclusive – that is, it involves interventions at all social levels – and horizontally inclusive – that is, in addition to including women at all levels of society, it also includes men and boys.

Addressing discriminatory social institutions requires an inclusive approach that entails mobilising all levels of society. In order to evaluate the numerous, and sometimes indirect, effects of discriminatory social institutions, policy makers should adopt a socio-ecological approach. The socio-ecological model enables the mapping of all factors influencing gender-based discrimination, and the identification of the specific bottlenecks in each country (Bronfenbrenner, 2005[61]). Policy makers need to ensure that programmes and interventions cover the whole vertical spectrum including different levels of individuals’ social environment (Figure 1.8). In other words, every citizen and institution has a role to play. This entails mobilising forces at the grassroots level – that is, with individual women and men –, as well as at the highest social and political levels – for instance, with national legislative bodies and religious authorities.

Holistic policy interventions also need to take into account horizontal discrimination – that is, the intersectional discrimination faced by some women. Many women in the LAC region are at the intersection of different forms of discrimination. For instance, indigenous women are constrained by discriminatory social institutions due to the fact that they are women and that they belong to indigenous communities. Similarly, afro-descendant women face additional discrimination stemming from their socio-economic status. The design and implementation of laws and programmes should therefore always adopt an intersectional approach so as to ensure that all women are considered, especially the most vulnerable ones – migrant, indigenous, afro-descendant, rural and low-income women, among others.

In the LAC region, the horizontal approach requires governments to invest in dedicated programmes targeting women suffering from intersectional discrimination. In particular, the SIGI reveals high intersectional discrimination in the areas covered by the following SIGI indicators: “Child marriage”, “Secure access to land assets”, “Secure access to non-land assets”, “Secure access to formal financial services”, “Citizenship rights”, “Political voice” and “Access to justice”. Policy makers should, therefore, pay specific attention to intersectionality in these areas. For instance, in 2013, Mexico’s Supreme Court created the Protocolo de actuación para quienes imparten justicia en casos que involucren derechos de personas, comunidades y pueblos indígenas (Action protocol for those who administer justice in cases involving the rights of indigenous people and communities). The protocol aims to help judicial authorities uphold national and international standards when rendering justice to indigenous communities (Guillén Sánchez, 2013[62]). Similarly, the Instituto Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas (National Institute of Indigenous Peoples [INPI]), in Mexico, supports projects aimed at indigenous and afro-descendant women and girls (INPI, 2020[63]).

Finally, a whole-of-society approach also entails engaging men and boys as positive agents of change. Shifting social norms is not only women’s responsibility; engaging men and boys is critical if social norms are to truly change. In order to turn as many men and boys as possible into allies, policy makers need to focus on the positive impacts that gender equality has on men and boys. Studies show that challenging patriarchal norms, such as the social expectation that men are the breadwinners or the assumption that men need to be tough, can have wide-ranging positive implications for men’s health and happiness. In 2017, Promundo showed that in Mexico, rigid patriarchal masculine norms led to binge drinking and depression, and even suicide in its most extreme forms (Heilman, Barker and Harrison, 2017[64]). Shifting expectations and norms towards non-discriminatory values with the help of men and boys can therefore deliver great benefits for them by increasing their health and happiness. There are also financial implications: in Mexico, Promundo estimates that the negative impact of masculine norms on men’s and boys’ health and happiness costs USD 1.4 billion annually (Heilman et al., 2019[65]). At the same time, in order to fast-forward the fight against gender inequality and discriminatory social norms, it is essential that policy makers also challenge the negative aspects of masculinity. In certain LAC regions, masculine norms are strongly shaped by machismo – a form of hyper-masculinity that valorises dominance and violence, and is associated with a man’s responsibility to provide for, protect and defend his family – which in turn contributes to perpetuating discriminatory practices such as violence against women (see Chapter 4). For instance, Barbados’ Bureau of Gender Affairs organises annual workshops with secondary school boys around the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence international campaign; these workshops explore issues such as gender, masculinity and gender-based violence (ECLAC, 2019[43]).

Countries need to immediately invest in critical statistical capabilities to produce more and better sex-disaggregated data. More evidence and more data are required in order to inform the central role played by gender equality in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development within the framework of the Montevideo Strategy. Quality data and research are essential to helping policy makers understand the scope and the drivers of gender inequality. Data produced need to account for inequalities in all aspects of life and for the different population groups, including women (OECD et al., 2019[38]). In particular, in order to make use of the accurate levels of analysis and to be able to build the business case in favour of gender equality, policy makers must work around two axes:

  • Ensure that reliable sex-disaggregated data are produced at various geographical levels: local, sub-national, national and regional.

  • Ensure that reliable sex-disaggregated data are produced in order to capture intersectional discrimination.

For instance, in 2019, the Dominican Republic’s Oficina Nacional de Estadística (National Statistical Office [ONE]) launched a partnership with PARIS21 to map the country’s activities in relation to the production, co-ordination and use of gender statistics (PARIS21, 2019[66]). The goal is to establish an assessment of existing data gaps in gender statistics in order to guide the design of the Dominican Republic’s Estrategia Nacional para el Desarrollo Estadístico (National Strategy for the Development of Statistics [NSDS]). Similarly, with the support of PARIS21, Bolivia’s Instituto Nacional de Estadística (National Institute of Statistics [INE]) is currently monitoring the country’s five-year National Development Plan, including the advancement of sex-disaggregated targets (PARIS21, 2016[67]).

Increased integration and co-ordination across countries is required in order to ensure comparability and to monitor the LAC region’s progress towards reaching the SDG 5 targets. Co-ordination across countries entails reaching agreements at the regional level on common well-being and statistical frameworks (OECD et al., 2019[38]). To that end, the SDG framework provides a comprehensive and valuable set of existing statistics on which the LAC region should focus. National statistical strategies need to build on the 169 SDG targets and their accompanying indicators – and, more specifically, on the 14 indicators of SDG 5 – in order to develop comparative statistics and to ensure that the region has a minimum common set of indicators. Many LAC countries – for instance, Colombia and Mexico – are already developing the production of gender statistics under the leadership of the United Nations and within the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs (INEGI, 2019[68]). Collaboration among National Statistical Offices (NSOs) and countries to harmonise the data collected and their statistical processes should continue and increase.

Moreover, national statistical strategies need to incorporate national and sub-national dissemination strategies and ensure that the information collected is used to design and improve policies. Quality sex-disaggregated data are instrumental in guiding the design and implementation of relevant policy options, and in tracking the evolution of the major determinants of gender inequality. Well-designed dissemination strategies entail ensuring that the data produced are available to national policy makers and that they feed into the policy-making process. Furthermore, for policy makers to truly raise awareness, the business case in support of gender equality needs to be reinforced and supported by strong sex-disaggregated data. The production of the data should be complemented by communication and awareness campaigns aimed at disseminating the data produced in order to induce a change in attitudes towards gender equality.

Policy makers, in partnership with multiple stakeholders, including CSOs and other grassroots organisations, need to increase awareness through targeted campaigns to sensitise all stakeholders to gender inequality and gender-based discrimination. In order to improve the gender-responsiveness of policies, to ensure the rightful enforcement of existing laws, and to ensure that prosecutions and convictions are reached, it is critical to acknowledge and raise awareness of the deeply entrenched acceptance of gender-based discrimination. Policy makers need to publicly recognise social norms and practices that harm women and girls. Raising awareness of the social, economic, demographic and political costs of such discrimination would help build coalitions across societies and mobilise public opinion on the matter. In particular, awareness programmes and campaigns should highlight the human, social and economic consequences of gender-based inequality and discrimination for society as a whole – including men (see Chapter 2). Such evidence provides a strong business case to support any policy aimed at addressing this form of discrimination.

It is also essential to develop communication and awareness campaigns to inform women and girls about the rights and opportunities offered by the laws. Even when sound legal frameworks are in place that guarantee equality between men and women, women often lack the legal information and support necessary for them to know their rights and how to exercise them. Policy makers need to develop targeted information campaigns to inform women and girls about their rights and the resources at their disposal in order to improve their legal literacy and to assist them in exercising their entitlements.


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← 1. SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16 and 17.

← 2. National gender equality machineries are defined as national institutional mechanisms, bodies and committees for the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

← 3. According to the SIGI 2019 classification. The SIGI ranges from 0 to 100, where a score of 0 indicates no discrimination and a score of 100 indicates absolute discrimination.

← 4. Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico and Peru.

← 5. Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Jamaica.

← 6. Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

← 7. El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua.

← 8. Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guatemala, Jamaica, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

← 9. Barbados, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

← 10. Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

← 11. We acknowledge that this decline is the result of an actual reduction of intimate partner violence combined with methodological shortcomings due to the lack of reporting and additional potential composition effects.

← 12. We acknowledge the limitations of collecting data on intimate partner violence. There are methodological shortcomings due to the lack of reporting or underreporting on the prevalence of intimate partner violence.

← 13. Data on changing attitudes are unavailable for Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Panama, Paraguay and Venezuela, since data on this social norm are unavailable for 2014.

← 14. Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

← 15. Bahamas, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Panama.

← 16. Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru, and Venezuela.

← 17. According to the SIGI 2019 classification. The SIGI ranges from 0 to 100, where a score of 0 indicates no discrimination and a score of 100 indicates absolute discrimination.

← 18. Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, and Guyana.

← 19. Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.

← 20. Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

← 21. Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago.

← 22. Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

← 23. Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

← 24. Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama.

← 25. In this ruling, the Third Collegiate Court for Labour Matters of the Third Circuit held that during pregnancy and maternity leave, employees are afforded special protection under the constitutional and international human rights framework – in particular, the benefit of enhanced job security.

← 26. Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

← 27. Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador, Honduras and Panama.

← 28. Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

← 29. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

← 30. Chile and Paraguay.

← 31. Antigua and Barbuda, Chile, Dominica, Ecuador, and Paraguay.

← 32. Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

← 33. Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Mexico and Uruguay.

← 34. Bolivia, El Salvador, Grenada, Mexico and Uruguay.

← 35. Except Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti and Paraguay.

← 36. Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago.

← 37. Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

← 38. Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Dominica, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

← 39. Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico and Nicaragua.

← 40. Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

← 41. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

← 42. Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico and Nicaragua.

← 43. Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Cuba, Guyana and Paraguay.

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