Women were hit harder by job losses during Brazil’s recession, according to new research, and female employment has yet to return to growth despite the first tentative signs of economic recovery for the country as a whole. Additionally, gaps in both public policy and workplace labor policies mean that some of the employment gains made in the past several decades are being lost. But without the return of women across the workforce, researchers warn that Brazil’s recovery could be even slower and its future could be bleak.
From 1950 to 2010, women’s participation in Brazil’s labor force grew from 13.6 to 48.9 percent. If this growth pattern had continued, the formal and informal employment rate of women would have hit 50 percent by January 2016. But with the first signs of Brazil’s economic woes appearing in late 2012 and snowballing into recession by 2014, women’s jobs were the first to go. By December 2014, the rate of the female population in employment had fallen to 45.9 percent – just 11.1 million women.