Gender and Salaries of the Qualified
Workforce in Brazil and Mexico
Maria Cristina Cacciamali and Fábio Tatei

In Brazil, the absolute value of income for men is on average 55.7% higher than income for women, and among employees with higher education, the difference increases to 77.6%. Women with university education continue to face disadvantages as compared to men in terms of income, despite reaching higher levels of remuneration and opportunities in the labor market. When looked at only from the point of view of women, more education provides advantages for their professional careers; however, when looking at the entire set, we observe the inefficiencies of the labor market, which does not properly pay these female workers, at least when compared to men with similar qualifications. In this sense, Mexico is different than Brazil. Although Mexican women with higher education have lower insertion, education works to reduce gender inequality. Among the entire population, men receive an average income 166.7% higher than women, while this difference is practically cut in half among the population with secondary education, 82.0%. Although the income difference due to gender is higher in Mexico than in Brazil, the negative income bias for employed women, at least in this area, is lower (Table 8).

We also emphasize that the low difference in total income by gender should be interpreted with caution, because the number of hours dedicated to work differs between men and women, especially in Mexico. Table 9 confirms that for the total adult population, women in Brazil work approximately 8 hours a week less than men, while Mexican women work less than half the hours worked by men. This shows that part of the income differential is due to the amount of time that women dedicate to working. Among the population with university studies, the gender difference for hours worked a week falls, both due to the fact that men work on average fewer hours and that women work on average more hours in both countries. However, there are still major differences in Mexico, as Mexican women work on average the equivalent of 2/3 the time that men work on a weekly basis.

The data shown here confirms the persistence of patriarchal and sexist patterns in both societies, which is the basis for the disadvantages that women face in comparison to men in the labor market. These dynamics also have a negative influence on economic growth in the two countries, mainly in Mexico, where there is lower female activity and lower qualified labor for both genders.