Children, women most vulnerable in L America

15:43, November 20, 2009      

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The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said on Thursday that poverty affects children 1.7 times more than adults and affects women 1.15 times more than men in the region.

The ECLAC said Thursday in its report "Social Panorama of Latin America 2009" that women in all the countries of the region are more exposed to poverty than men, specially in Panama (1.37 times more), Costa Rica (1.30 times more) and the Dominican Republic (1.25 times more).

In 13 of the 18 studied countries, the situation has been worsened between 2002 and 2008, and by 2009 it will be even worse, the ECLAC said.

Regarding children under 15 years old, in all the countries in the region except in El Salvador, the poverty gap between children and adults has increased in the last six years, mainly in Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Uruguay and Venezuela.

For example, in Uruguay the poverty rate is 3.1 times higher in children than in adults, while it is 1.8 times higher in Chile and1.3 time higher in Nicaragua.

According to ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena, "it is urgent to apply long term policies directed to children and youngsters, who are future productive engines of the society, and to offer women greater access to job opportunities to stop the poverty circle."

According to the ECLAC, the poverty of women has extended to their children.

It is necessary to promote employment among women, to redistribute the non-paid work at homes and to extend the school coverage of the children, the ECLAC said.

For example, in Uruguay the daily average hours that a woman spends on non-paid work at home is almost five hours, and that's more than seven hours in Guatemala.

While in the case of men, except in Guatemala, they do not spend more than two hours a day doing non-paid works at home.

The ECLAC made some suggestions to solve the poverty problems of these social sectors, which include extending the school coverage of the children under five years old and extending the school hours,.

It proposed to create collective care services for senior citizens, invest more in preventive health, punish acts of discrimination against women at work places, and redistribute the non-paid work at homes.

Source: Xinhua
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