Changes in Ecuador's Gender Earning Gap: An Analysis from 2000 to 2021

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Nov 2023
The gender earnings gap in Latin America is a barrier to achieving gender equality and sustainable development. In Ecuador, although there is no pronounced gender earnings gap at the aggregate level, an unexplained gap persists. Despite women often having a better labor profile than men, their income levels do not reflect this, suggesting the existence of gender biases. The total gap exists among informal sector workers, in rural areas, and among self-employed workers. Moreover, there is a heterogeneous income difference favoring men in most occupations. To analyze the gender pay gap in Ecuador between 2000 and 2021, we used the National Employment, Unemployment, and Underemployment Surveys (ENEMDU) conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) of Ecuador and harmonized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). We present two methodologies for estimating the gap: the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition and the Ñopo decomposition. The analysis of over more than two decades shows a reduction in the total gender earnings gap in the analyzed period, while also pointing to the existence of gender discrimination. This indicates that additional efforts are needed to understand this disparity. The analysis demonstrates that while the total gap has decreased, as in many other countries in the region, the reduction in the total gap is generally associated with the explained gap and not with a reduction in the unexplained gap, which persists over time.