Posted by: Idioma Extra | March 9, 2010

Tuesday’s News

Costa Rican women have
come far, but still have far to go


As the world celebrated International Women’s Day on Monday, Costa Rica took stock in how far Costa Rican women – the “Ticas” – have come, but also eyed the stretch of road to equality that still lies ahead.

Ticas are taking jobs outside the home and climbing the labor ladder like never before. A Tica, Laura Chinchilla, will become the country’s first female president on May 8.

“On a macro level I think women in Costa Rica have come a long way in a number of areas,” said Simone Bunse, a former lecturer at INCAE Business School in Costa Rica who has researched women in leadership. She cited Ticas’ literacy and education levels as both being above those of males.

“However, we are far from a picture of ‘the empowered woman’ we may want to see,” she said.

This year’s International Women’s Day came under the United Nations’ theme “Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all.”

According to Mabel Figueroa, coordinator for public policy for gender equality at the National Women’s Institute (INAMU), progress for Ticas continues to be unnecessarily stifled.

Studies have shown that the earnings of Costa Rican women are trailing those of men. In 1996, females earned 15 percent less than their male counterparts in a similar job. By 2008, the salary gap had risen to 26 percent, according to an October 2009 report by the government-run INAMU and the independent research group State of the Nation.

“One of the most powerful reasons (for the wage gap) is that the society believes that a woman’s salary is a household’s secondary rather than its principal income,” said Figueroa.

Despite women’s gains in society, many Ticos still view a woman’s role to be in the home, when that’s increasingly not the reality, said Figueroa. According to official statistics, a considerable number of women are their household’s primary breadwinner.

For Raquel Herrera, programs specialist at the United Nations Development Program’s Costa Rica office, Ticas face difficult choices around their career and family.

Word of the Day

Main Entry: stifle
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): sti·fled; sti·fling
Etymology: alteration of Middle English stuflen
Date: 1513
transitive verb
1a : to kill by depriving of oxygen : suffocate
b (1) : smother
(2) : muffle
2 a : to cut off (as the voice or breath)
b : to withhold from circulation or expression : repress <stifled our anger>
*c : deter, discourage
intransitive verb
: to become suffocated by or as if by lack of oxygen : smother <stifling in the heat>
sti·fler noun
sti·fling·ly adverb

More Vocabulary 

Breadwinner: n. a member of a family whose wages supply its livelihood
Eye: v. to contemplate, consider
Literacy: n. the quality or state of being able to read and write
Stock: n. an estimate or evaluation of something
Trail: v. to lag behind: do poorly in relation to others

Love those Phrasal Verbs!

Check back tomorrow for phrasal verbs!

Emailing Phrases

Below are some phrases used in business emails in English. To learn more phrases and expressions, consider Idioma Internacional’s AFD 450 Emailing and Business Communication Course!

Announcing attachments

Attached please find January’s sales.
I have attached the January sales figures for your review.

Announcing future action

I will call you next week to follow up.
I’ll see you at Friday’s meeting.
I will plan on meeting with you on Thursday at 10am.


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