Mexico is the country with the highest number of working hours per week in Latin America

According to the Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean (OIG) of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which analyzes the indicator of total working time in the region, Latin American and Caribbean citizens over the age of 15 work, on average, 53.8 hours a week between paid and unpaid work.

Mexico is the country with the highest number of working hours per week in Latin America. Image: Pixabay
Mexico is the country with the highest number of working hours per week in Latin America. Image: Pixabay

For the IGO, paid employment refers to employment that is carried out for the production of goods or the provision of services for the market and is calculated as the sum of time spent on employment, search and relocation. Unpaid work is work that is done without pay and is mostly done in the private sphere. It is measured by quantifying the time that a person spends working for self-consumption of goods, household chores and unpaid care for one's own home or to support other households.

The most critical case in the region is Mexico, where its inhabitants work an average of 69.3 hours a week. If the data are disaggregated, women work 74.4 hours a week, about 10.1 hours more than men in that country, the highest figure in Latin America. Of the 64.3 hours that men work per week in Mexico, 44.9 hours are paid and the remaining 19.4 hours are not. In the case of the 74.4 hours worked by women, only 20.5 are remunerated and for 53.9 hours they receive no remuneration whatsoever.

The figures in Mexico are related to sexist culture and this influences the type of paid or unpaid work for women. They are historical and sociological categories of assignment to women of unpaid care roles that are socially understood as legitimized and that imply this duplicity in the working day in many cases.

Although Peruvians do not work as many hours as they do in Mexico, Peru ranks second in the region in terms of working hours: it works 61.3 hours a week. In this country, there is a little more gender equity, because men work 60.3 hours a week and women 62.3, with only two hours difference. However, if we look at the differences between the number of hours paid and unpaid, the picture changes. Of the 62.3 hours worked by women, only 22.6 are paid, while men are paid 44.5 hours out of the 60.3 hours worked per week.

The third is occupied by El Salvador, a country that is very much in line with Peru. There, Salvadoran women work 58.8 hours a week and men 58.9. Of the total number of hours worked by the inhabitants, 41.7 hours are paid for men and half are paid for women, i.e. 21.5 hours.

Colombia is the 11th country in the region (out of 16) with an average of 53.6 hours worked per week, women 52.7 and men 54.5 hours. Here the case is not unlike the examples of the region: women are only paid for 19.8 hours of the 52.7 hours worked and men a little more than double that, 43.1 hours. Colombia maintains a macho pattern in the allocation of care tasks. This results in the trend of a disproportionate increase in the time that Colombian women work and have no remuneration whatsoever.

If we look abroad, Germany announced that it would reduce its working hours to 28 hours. Europe has a downward trend in working hours because it is a concern of public policies that seek a balance between work and family life. Unfortunately, in Latin America, this initiative has not been found and it is lacking.

By Mexicanist

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