Written by Helle Duus Alex.


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Poor women and unpaid work

In Guatemala in 2009 31% of the female population was illiterate. In the rural parts of Guatemala, 70.5% are poor, and therefore women are more likely to be poor in the more rural areas. Gammage argues that women in poor households engage more in domestic tasks and undertake the majority of household maintenance,social reproduction and care work than men. Similarly, Benería states that the women perform tough work but do not get paid and argues that there is anopportunity cost related, since the women could be paid for different jobs instead. Unpaid household work is associated with the amount of people in the household, the location, and the availability of labor different to household work. Unfortunately, this means that women in the more rural parts of Guatemala are greater victims of poverty than the urban women, which is why most poverty is found in the rural parts of Guatemala. Due to this poverty, Gammage has found that many women in the rural parts perform unpaid work.

Educated women and the labor force

Labor force participation for women was at 51% in 2010, 50% in 2007, and 44% in 2004. Women have a small pay disadvantage, earning 97% of male wages in most occupations. If women have a second and/or third educational degree, they are more equal with their male competitors, and there is a small gender inequality. As in many countries, both men and women earn the most if they have a university degree. The ratio of having a steady income increases after a woman has completed the secondary level of schooling, but decreases again after university.This means that women earn about the same as men if they both completed the secondary education, but after university, men earn more. The situation changes on the professional level, where women earn more than men. Men work more hours in all professions, except in the household, because many women have part-time jobs.