A comprehensive report about gender inequality in the City of Buenos Aires confirmed what we already know: it still very much exists. Published on November 5 by the City government’s statistics agency, it indicates that in 2017, women earned on average 23.3 percent less than their male counterparts in the primary occupation.
Predictably, the City is far from being an isolated case: in a report of its own, the Federation of Professional Entities of Córdoba (Fepuc) indicated that while the male median income clocked in at AR $36.524 in 2017, women’s was of AR $28.342, resulting in a 22 percent wage gap between the two sexes.
The study goes on to illustrate how the injustice is layered and systemic: even though women are achieving better results in education than their male counterparts, most end up working on poorly paid sectors of the economy, such as domestic services, health and education. And even within this area, they earn 28 percent less than the males they work with.
Perhaps one of the most illustrative examples took place when the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, told Argentine Finance and Treasury Minister, Nicolás Dujovne, that the Argentine delegation sent to negotiate a bailout package to Washington was “short on women.”
The underlying problem behind all of this is that, as stated in the study, “the economic model for the labor market [in Argentina] has been designed on a model where the men economically sustain the home, and the women earn additional money”.
Read more: Gender Equality: Argentina’s Pipe Dream?
The issue is set to play – at least in paper – a significant role in the upcoming G20 leaders summit, to take place in Buenos Aires on November 30 and December 1. The G20 presidency – i.e Argentina – has already formally received policy recommendations by the Women 20 (W20) engagement group, and responded by describing it as a priority issue for G20: “ Inequality is not only a woman’s issue; it involves us all; it affects us all,” said Macri when receiving the document.
W20 has also advised that a mandatory paid parental leave period be implemented for both maternal and paternal leave, to counteract the predated stereotypes that revolve around parental care in Argentine families. This comes just a few months after Macri’s bill to increase paid leave for paternal care in the public sector to be raised to 15 days, making an total of 30 days of paid leave between both parents.
Time will tell if the commitment the countries make in the summit will be yet another symbolic gesture, or if administrations will actually start working towards closing the gap.