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In Costa Rica, 76% of Women Would Prefer To Work, But Only 39% Find It

A quarter of men in Costa Rica would prefer women not work outside the home.

Q COSTA RICA – Three out of four women in Costa Rica (76%) would prefer to work rather than devote themselves to household chores. That was clear in the latest survey conducted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Gallup in 142 countries.

The Costa Rica results of the survey reveal that 30% of the women would prefer full-time work, and 46% part-time that would allow them to reconcile work and family.

Only 22% would prefer to stay at home.

The proportion of women that would prefer to full-time work jumps to 90% if the question is asked exclusively to women between 15 and 29 years of age.

However, in Costa Rica, the women’s preferences clash with reality. Despite the high percentage of women who would prefer paid employment, the female employment rate is only 39.5%, according to the data from the  Encuesta Continua de Empleo, del Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC) – Continuous Employment Survey of the National Institute Of Statistics and Census, for the last quarter of 2016.



The Costa Rican phenomenon is not dissimilar from the rest of the world.

ILO Director General, Guy Ryder, explained there is a similar proportion of women (70%) who say they would rather be able to work, rather than be in charge of household chores.

The survey also reveals shared cultural challenges. In the rest of the world there is a proportion similar to Costa Rica’s 25% of men who would prefer women to stay at home in order to take care of domestic tasks, child care, or the like.

In the country, onlt 5% of the persons surveyed said they disagreed with a woman working in a paid job outside the home. The vast majority of these responses were by people of low schooling.

The ILO data takes in the responses of 1,000 Costa Ricans in a face-to-face survey in March 2016. The margin of error of the survey is 3.7 points.

If they work, women also tend to receive lower wages. According to the Informe del Estado de la Nación del 2016 (2016 State of the Nation report) the average wage of a woman is 84.6% of the average for men. Women’s wages are often much lower in areas such as manufacturing or commerce, where they may even receive less than a third of what men earn.

According to the 2016 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), only a third of the managerial positions in Costa Rica are assumed by women.

Informal employment is often higher for women and, according to the State of the Nation Report, the vast majority of enterprises in highly informal conditions are run by women, who face difficulties in accessing credit or resources to support their projects.

The future of women also reveals important gaps. The difficult conditions to access employment and the social burden imposed on women also explains that the vast majority of young people who do not study or work in Costa Rica are women and that the rate of ninis among them increases with their age.

This disparity increases fivefold as you progress in age, until you reach a difference of 20.7 percentage points for those between 25 and 29 years of age.

Sources: Elfinancierocr.com; ILO.org


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