Historical increase in households headed by women in Colombia, according to a Dane survey

Historical increase in households headed by women in Colombia, according to a Dane survey
Historical increase in households headed by women in Colombia, according to a Dane survey

The WWB Colombia Foundation analyzes the need for strategies to improve the quality of life of the 8.2 million households headed by women, according to the latest report – credit Colpresa

According to the recent National Quality of Life Survey 2023 released by the National Administrative Department of Statistics (Dane), there was a historic increase in households headed by women in Colombia, reaching 8.2 million, which represents 45.4% of the total of 18 million homes in the country. This increase poses significant challenges for the creation of public policies that address the specific needs of these households.

The WWB Colombia Foundation, in its analysis titled ‘Increase in female leadership in Colombia: a look beyond the numbers’, highlights the need to design strategies that improve the quality of life of households led by women. Esneyder Cortes, director of Planning and Strategy of the foundation, mentioned that the analysis seeks to “provide elements that encourage reflection and invite the design of strategies that provide well-being.”

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In 2019, before the pandemic, for every 100 women heads of household there were 160 men in the same position; Currently this proportion is 120 men for every 100 women. Furthermore, a marked difference was observed in the composition of households: while 69.9% of male heads of household lead two-parent households (with a father and mother), only 31.4% of women do so. In contrast, female heads of household predominate in single-parent households (only mother or father) with 44.8%, compared to 7.1% for men.

The survey also highlights the economic impact of these households. In the 8.2 million households led by women, 40.3% have minors and 34.5% include older adults, which implies greater care and support responsibilities. In relation to marital status, 65% of women in this situation are single, compared to 28.4% of men, and the per capita income in households headed by men is higher, with $1,338,390 compared to $1,123,251 in households headed by women.

The DANE survey highlights that 44.8% of female heads of household are responsible for single-parent households, facing greater economic and daily care challenges – Colpresa credit

“There is a significant gender disparity within the structure of households, since the responsibility for meeting care and economic support needs falls on single women heads of households, heads of households with more members and with a greater presence of people in dependent ages, which leads to conditions of greater vulnerability and difficulty in materializing a life project outside the home,” explains the analysis.

Regarding this phenomenon, the director of Dane, Piedad Urdinola explained that “this increase occurs above all in the capitals, going from 41.6% to 47.9%, and in the dispersed populated and rural centers it went from 28. 3% to 36.7%; “We are seeing how the gap between urban and rural is closing.”

Other important aspects such as subjective well-being and food security also reflect an unfavorable situation for women heads of household.. According to the survey, 43.6% of these households expressed concern about food shortages, and 30% were unable to access healthy food. The analysis shows that on a satisfaction scale of 1 to 10, women scored lower than their male counterparts in various aspects of their daily lives, such as work and income.

In terms of perception of economic reality, 49.5% of women heads of household consider themselves in a state of poverty, compared to 45.5% of men in the same situation. Furthermore, 43.2% of households headed by women indicated that their income barely covers minimum expenses, in contrast to 37.1% of households headed by men.

The 2023 National Quality of Life Survey shows economic disparities, with a lower per capita income and greater food concerns in female households, according to the latest data – credit Colprensa

The WWB Colombia Foundation also points out that Women spend more time on housework than men. In an average week, 46.9% of female heads of household are dedicated to domestic work, compared to 27% of men. In terms of financial inclusion, Asobancaria emphasizes the need to strengthen female leadership to improve access to financial services, highlighting a significant gap in access and use of financial products between men and women.

Figures from Banca de las Oportunidades reveal that in 2022, access to financial products was 88.7% for women and 95.6% for men. This gender gap is also reflected in the use of financial products, where 74.9% of women use these services, compared to 79% of men.

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