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The invisible face of child labour in Latin America and the Caribbean

1 February 2009|Newsletter Edition


Child labour has a gender bias related to the dominant stereotypes regarding gender roles. While out-of-home paid work is carried out predominantly by boys, girls bear the greater burden in unpaid domestic tasks, whether in their own homes or the homes of others. Boys are more exposed to the risks of being out on the street and find it more difficult to combine work and education. For girls it may be easier to reconcile the spheres of work and education, but they suffer costs that remain hidden and that reinforce their disadvantages throughout the life cycle. On the one hand, they are marked by the assumption that the burden of the care economy is entirely their responsibility, which determines future labour prospects. Indeed, even when girls show greater educational achievement, their occupational options are more limited. On the other hand, girls are exposed to risk within the household, where overexploitation, maltreatment and abuse are as frequent as they are unpunished.