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Strengthening labour market participation and economic opportunities for women in Paraguay

The increase in women’s participation in labour markets is one of the most prominent socioeconomic changes in Latin America in recent years. It has had positive effects on women and society through poverty reduction, inequality, and growth. Yet, women’s participation is still well below men's. Despite improvement in women's education, women continue to be disadvantaged in job opportunities and conditions of work. Women require a significantly greater number of years of education than men to achieve formal employment. They tend to be over-represented among the self-employed, or they are working in small firms in conditions of low productivity, no social protection, and no labour laws. In Paraguay, more than 60% of women work in these types of jobs. Moreover, there are strong differences among women: young, uneducated, and poor women participate less in paid work than more educated women.

Economic growth and the expansion in education have not generated sufficient employment opportunities for women. The current slowdown in growth rates make these challenges more pressing. There is little awareness of these challenges among policymakers. While there are new policy and program initiatives, their effectiveness has been limited by the lack of detailed information on the determinants and challenges of women’s labour market participation.

Building on IDRC’s expanding research to foster economic opportunities for women, this project will contribute to raise awareness and develop better policies that promote women’s economic empowerment in Paraguay. Working through local partner Centro de Análisis y Difusión de la Economia Paraguaya, the project will involve extensive data analysis, policy review and recommendations, and dissemination of research findings through policy briefs, seminars with policymakers, labour organizations, universities, non-governmental organizations, and engagement with local media. The project will also enhance research capacity among researchers in Paraguay through collaboration with regional experts from the Centre for Distributive and Labour Studies (CEDLAS) at National University in La Plata, Paraguay, and through a labour markets analysis course for researchers and government technical staff.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
18 months
IDRC Officer
Carolina Robino
Total Funding
CA$ 70,000.00
Employment and Growth
Employment and Growth
Institution Country
Project Leader
Verónica Serafini Geoghegan
Centro de Análisis y Difusión de la Economía Paraguaya