In order to achieve greater levels of development, welfare and equality of two sexes, Chile has made several reforms over the last decade to eliminate discrimination against women. The labor market is one of the key areas for reformation to reduce the poverty; support programs specific for sole mothers in employment are one of the examples. Women’s economic participation has been the central issue of the National Women’s Service (SERNAM). The rate of women’s employment has risen 4% from 1990 to 2000, and meanwhile, the feminine unemployment rate has decreased by 1.6%. The presence of women in self-employed work in the micro-business has increased 27.9% from 1996 to 2000.
To ensure the overcoming of the discrimination against women in economy, SERNAM has defined two priority issues of action. These are the progression with gender mainstreaming in public policies and the promotion of alliances with private sectors. The fundamental elements to achieve the former includes management instruments, and information system and statistics; the later lay weights on the concept of Business Social Responsibility, good labor practices, and the appearance of new feminine business leaderships. To face the challenge brought by the New Economy, another main issue of the Chilean government now is the incorporation of women into the new economy. Concerning women’s participation in labor market and the growth in the number of businesswomen, the support of child care, the conciliation of family and working lives of both sexes, the access to new technologies and the income differences are the progressing focuses in current Chilean policies. Further information is available at http://www.apecsec.org.sg/apec/documents_reports/ministerial_meeting_on_women/2002.html and http://www.sernam.gov.cl/