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26Jul

Gender Survey for Latin America Shows Importance of Regional Knowledge

In 2017, CSA Research conducted the first large-scale, pro-bono, survey-based research on gender issues in language services. With over 2,000 respondents, the findings provided objective and reliable information about how women and men involved in the industry perceive these issues. On the eve of the #metoo movement, the report kicked off industry-wide discussion on the role gender plays. It provided detailed – and surprising – results for North America and Europe.

In 2018, we ran the survey again, this time translated into Spanish and Portuguese, throughout Latin America, resulting in 600 responses from the region. The open-access results of this survey will be published next week, followed shortly thereafter with data visualizations for the questions that will let others explore the data and examine areas of interest. Here are some of our preliminary findings before we release the full report.

  1. The language services sector is a female-dominated industry, but not at the top.Nowhere is this more apparent than in Latin America, where 81% of respondents to our survey were female, compared to 71% in North America and 70% in Europe. Despite the numeric dominance of women, they overwhelmingly work in the lowest-paid positions in the industry, and men are more likely to work in executive or other high-level positions.
     
  2. Latin America has the highest gender pay gap. Men earn 65% more than women in the region. By contrast, last year’s results revealed that the overall pay gap is lowest in North America (6%), and intermediate in Europe (37%). Structural issues in the labor market account for much of the difference we see between regions.
     
  3. Despite the pay gap, Latin American women believe they are treated equally. Latin America was the only region where more than half of women (52%) believe they are paid as much or more than men for the same work, compared to 44% in Europe and just 22% in North America. By contrast, the overwhelming majority of men in all regions believe that women are paid as much or more than men, with Latin American men the most likely to believe that women have equal or higher pay. On their surface, these results seem to contradict what we revealed concerning pay gaps.


 

The last point leads to an unexpected result. Those women who are most likely to be affected by a pay gap are the ones least likely to believe they are, and the ones who are least affected believe they are more affected. We have identified three possible reasons for this result:

  1. Campaigns have succeeded in raising awareness. Pay equality has long been a major issue in Europe and North America. As a result, women may be more aware of pay issues and assess them as more important in those regions than in Latin America.
     
  2. Women in Latin America work in smaller companies with lower pay. They may actually experience pay equality within their organizations, but make less money overall because of where they work. Our results indicate that this is likely to be a significant factor in Latin America because women in leadership positions report much lower pay than their male counterparts, even in positions where they would be responsible for setting salaries.
     
  3. Structural issues may obscure pay inequality. More so than in other regions, men and women in Latin America tend to work in different kinds of positions that have differing pay levels. As a result, they may perceive fairness within their employment setting, even though they have very different pay.

CSA Research has previously found that having women in leadership positions helps LSPs run more efficiently and generate more revenue per employee. The benefits from women having a say in a female-dominated industry are crucial to organizational success. The results from our examination of issues in Latin America show just how important it is to have knowledge about – and to develop solutions that respond to – the issues in particular regions.

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A special thank you to Carolina Walliter and Mitsue Siqueira for translating the survey into Portuguese, to Latamways and Diana Sorgato for the Spanish version, and to Fabiano Cid for his invaluable assistance in managing the translation. We developed this pro bono research with the support of GALA and Women and Localization in order to understand how language workers compare to other industries.

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