This study explores how deindustrialization is influencing the labour market in El Salvador. The variables under analysis are disaggregated by sex in order to permit an analysis of the differences in the ways that women and men react to deindustrialization. The results indicate that deindustrialization has led to a decline in quality employment and an upswing in self-employment, at the same time that the female labour force participation rate has risen and the male participation rate has fallen. This all occurred in parallel with the economic measures introduced in the 1990s and reflects the role that women have assumed in order to safeguard the well-being of their families. Deindustrialization has also been associated with increasing violence, since it paves the way for an increase in poor-quality jobs. This article concludes by underscoring the importance of reinstating tariff protections and supporting a reindustrialization process, together with regional integration, gender equality and education.