ELLA Guide: Gender Equality in Latin America: A Regional Commitment to Reducing Gender Gaps


Gender equality is a human right and a cornerstone of social and economic development. It refers to the equal visibility, empowerment, responsibility and participation of both men and women in all spheres of public and private life. Although women continue to face many barriers to the full realisation of their rights in Latin America, countries across the region have been taking important steps to overcome the multidimensional, structural and cultural causes of inequality. These experiences are generating a range of useful lessons for other regions on issues as diverse as legal and institutional reform, budgeting tools, and independent mechanisms for tracking public policy. Illustrated with case studies from across the region, this Guide provides an overview of Latin American progress to date, with a focus on health, education, political and economic sectors. The Guide then describes the main enabling factors behind progress in Latin America and summarises key lessons. Links to further reading and key organisations are also provided to guide readers to additional information.

Key Lessons:

Effective strategies for reducing gender gaps must focus on eliminating the structural conditions that produce inequalities while at the same time strengthening women’s autonomy.

Civil society plays a crucial role in lobbying for women’s rights, as well as providing independent oversight of public policy.

Practical tools for mainstreaming gender into policy and practice can produce positive impacts on women’s opportunities and participation in public life in a relatively short time frame.

[Available in English and Spanish.]


Toledo, C. ELLA Guide: Gender Equality in Latin America: A Regional Commitment to Reducing Gender Gaps. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2013) 16 pp.

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