The path to gender equality in Colombia: Are we there yet?

Autor o Editor
Ana María Iregui-Bohórquez
Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra
María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo
Ana María Tribín-Uribe

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This document analyzes the historical process of women transformation in education, employment, fertility, civil rights and political participation in Colombia during the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. Four stages of this transformation were identified in this article. The first stage, from 1905 to 1935, was characterized by high fertility and maternal mortality rates, low enrollment rates in education, low labor participation and few civil and political rights. In the second stage, between 1936 and 1965, high fertility rates and low labor participation continued to be observed; however, enrollment in education increased, although it was still low. During this stage, women achieved the right to vote and the right to be elected. The third stage, between 1966 and 1985, stood out for the demographic transition, for a greater education of women and for an increase in their labor participation. In the fourth stage, from 1985 to the present, there is a significant increase in the enrollment of women in higher education, exceeding that of men. Maternal mortality and fertility rates continued to decline, women's labor participation kept increasing, although since the beginning of the 21st century it stagnated, and the wage gender gap still persists. Also, a greater presence of women in politics is observed; however, they are a minority in this area. Finally, despite the  progress made by women throughout the period analyzed, gender inequalities are still entrenched and persist over time, especially in labor and political participation.