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Gender as a Barrier for Shared Growth: The Case of Costa Rica Poverty Assessment. Lucia Fort, Andrew D. Mason (TTL), Maria Beatriz Orlando, and Carlos Sobrado (TTL) Prem Learning Week -2007. Gender as a Barrier for Shared Growth: The Case of Costa Rica Poverty Assessment.

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gender as a barrier for shared growth the case of costa rica poverty assessment

Gender as a Barrier for Shared Growth: The Case of Costa Rica Poverty Assessment

Lucia Fort, Andrew D. Mason (TTL), Maria Beatriz Orlando, and Carlos Sobrado (TTL)

Prem Learning Week -2007

gender as a barrier for shared growth the case of costa rica poverty assessment1
Gender as a Barrier for Shared Growth: The Case of Costa Rica Poverty Assessment
  • Growth without poverty reduction in LAC countries and women’s economic empowerment
  • Challenges for women’s economic empowerment in high growth LAC countries
  • The case of Costa Rica PA: key hypothesis and key findings
  • Creating an enabling environment for poor female workers
  • Implications
slide4

Female labor force participation in Costa Rica, Chile, and Mexico is low

Female Labor Force Participation in Latin America. 25-55 years old. Urban. 1990-2003

key questions costa rica poverty assessment
Key Questions Costa Rica Poverty Assessment
  • Main Objectives:
    • To understand why poverty in Costa Rica did not decline from 1994-2004 despite relatively consistent economic growth
    • To develop policy recommendations to re-invigorate the poverty reduction process
  • Main Hypotheses:
    • Patterns of growth (not pro-poor)
    • The poor not prepared to benefit from growth (human capital story)
    • Ineffective public investments/spending to reduce poverty
    • Immigration of poor Nicaraguans have offset gains among Costa Ricans
    • Data/Measurement problems

NOTE: No gender hypothesis to be found here!

female headship is correlated to poverty in costa rica
Female “Headship” is correlated to poverty in Costa Rica
  • Key Determinants of Poverty in Costa Rica
    • Household size (+)
    • Female Household head (esp., in rural areas) (+)
    • High school and college in general and primary education in rural areas (-)
    • 2 rural regions: Chorotega and Brunca (+)
    • Census segments averages: sewer and phone (-)
    • Insurance and formal employment (-)
    • Agricultural work (+)
what is behind poverty in fhhs
What is behind poverty in FHHs
  • Two-thirds of female-headed households are single mothers with young children
  • Except for education levels, FHHs disproportionately possess characteristics associated with poverty, including
    • high unemployment
    • high levels of self-employment
    • higher than average incidence of part-time work
  • Evidence suggests that single mothers with young children lack the ability to work full-time jobs with standard working hours due to lack of affordable child care options
unemployment among the poor in costa rica has increased since 1990
Unemployment among the poor in Costa Rica has increased since 1990

Source: Costa Rica Poverty Assessment, World Bank, 2006

the proportion of poor costa rican women working part time has increased
The proportion of poor Costa Rican women working part time has increased

Source: Costa Rica Poverty Assessment, World Bank, 2006

in addition labor legislation has created an uneven playing field
In addition, Labor legislation has created an uneven playing field
  • In Costa Rica, there are legal barriers to women working non-standard work hours,
  • Note that in Chile, firms hiring 20 women or more are legally obliged to provide on-site child care
  • A Chilean labor regulation formally sanctions family leave to care for sick children or elderly for female workers, but not for male workers
creating an enabling environment for poor female workers in costa rica
Creating an enabling environment for poor female workers in Costa Rica
  • Providing greater social support – in the form of affordable child care options – to female workers, whether poor single mothers or female spouses,
  • Providing female workers the same working-hour flexibility as male workers– would make it easier for single, working mothers to seek employment during times when it may be easier to make alternative childcare arrangements (e.g., with extended family members).
concluding remarks
Concluding Remarks
  • Women’s labor force participation does not always increase with economic development – LAC, MNA
  • Women’s labor force participation is not necessarily higher among low-income groups
  • Is this true in other regions?
implications
Implications
  • Research – much more needed on differences within countries and their causes
  • Policy – policies and plans to improve human capital, address poverty reduction, and increase growth should:
    • have a gender focus,
    • be targeted to those groups where inequality is highest,
    • their design needs to address the causes of gender inequality.