Female participation in the labour force of selected Latin American countries

Farhat Yusuf*, D. K. Briggs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Along with other regions of the developing world, Latin America is characterised by low participation rates of females in the labor force. About 1 in 5 Latin American women of working age are economically active. A woman's decision to enter or remain in the work force depends on financial expediency, availability of employment, her own education and skills, and most importantly, the expectations and attitudes of her family, society, and herself, with regard to the traditional role of housewife and mother. Using the path analysis models, data from 17 Latin American countries were examined in relation to labor force participation and selected social, economic, and demographic characteristics. The 3 most important variables were female education, fertility, and urbanization, but the most significant predictor was the proportion of 15-19 year olds receiving secondary education. The amount of this age group accounted for more than two-thirds of the variation in levels of labor force participation. Statistics were taken from the United Nations Demographic and Statistical Yearbooks and publications of the International Labour Office. Labor force pariticipation was higher for women aged 20-24 than for those aged 40-44 in every country except Nicaragua, where the 2 age ranges showed the same participation rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-229
Number of pages15
JournalPakistan Development Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1979


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