The problem of social security for women in Latin America has not yet been resolved. The recent pension reforms have not contributed to solving it but have, in fact, made individuals more vulnerable in terms of social safety nets. In other words, the inequity typical of the region's social security systems has been compounded by new forms of inequity that have emerged along with the reforms.
The specific objective of this study is to analyze ways in which the principles of obligatory affiliation to the system enshrined in the pension legislation may be reconciled with inequalities inherent in labour segmentation and the resulting access to social security in Latin America. From a gender perspective, it is important to identify the changes that have occurred with the shift from an unfunded system to an individual capitalization scheme.
A comparative analysis was conducted of the conceptual and legal frameworks of legislation on pension reform, with particular emphasis on their explicit and implicit suppositions regarding women as beneficiaries within such systems. Pension legislation was examined in the cases of Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and El Salvador, identifying the gender-differentiated effects of the reforms in each country.
In a context defined by greater socioeconomic uncertainty and population ageing, in which women's increased participation in the labour market contrasts with their increased exclusion from the benefits of social security, it is essential to include gender equity in the design and implementation of economic and social polices, in order to secure certain standards of living for everyone, especially for adults and older adults. This study therefore contains recommendations for policies and lines of research covering dimensions such as reproductive labour, wage discrimination, changes in the mechanisms used for operational oversight of the new systems and public policy options that take account of gender equity in pension matters.