Women in Uruguay
Paulina Luisi was a prominent Uruguayan feminist leader, and also the first Uruguayan woman to graduate as a physician.
General Statistics
Maternal mortality (per 100,000)29 (2010)
Women in parliament16% (2014)[1]
Women over 25 with secondary education50.6% (2010)
Women in labour force68% (2014)[2]
Gender Inequality Index[3]
Value0.235 (2021)
Rank58th out of 191
Global Gender Gap Index[4]
Value0.711 (2022)
Rank72nd out of 146

Women in Uruguay are women who were born in, who live in, and are from Uruguay. According to Countries and Their Cultures, there is a "very high proportion" of Uruguayan women participating in the labor force of the South American country. The Uruguayan legislation maintains that the women of Uruguay have equal rights to power, authority, and privileges". In reality, however, women are still not occupying "higher economic, professional, political, social, and religious positions".[5] In relation to the political arena, UN Women reported that a 2012 study made by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) ranked Uruguay as being "103rd out of 189 countries in terms of representation of women in Parliament".[6] Uruguay low ranking is partly due to its low political participation of women: only 16% of members of Parliament are women as of 2014. [1]

Notable women

One prominent Uruguayan woman is Paulina Luisi. Luisi was a leader of the feminist movement in the country of Uruguay. In 1909, she became the first woman in the country to obtain a medical degree and was highly respected. She represented Uruguay in international women's conferences and traveled throughout Europe. She voiced her opinion on women's rights, and in 1919, Paulina started the force for women's rights in Uruguay. By 1922, the Pan-American Conference of Women named Paulina Luisi an honorary vice president of the meeting and she continued to be an activist until Uruguay gave women the right to vote.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence is a very serious problem,[7] especially so-called crimes of passion, which until 2017 were tolerated under Article 36 of the Penal Code (The passion provoked by adultery) – Artículo 36. (La pasión provocada por el adulterio).[8] On December 22, 2017, Article 36 of the Criminal Code was modified to remove the crime of passion.[9] There had been ongoing political efforts to remove this provision from the Criminal Code since 2013.[10][11][12]

Before 2006, perpetrators of rape could avoid punishment if, after the assault, they married the victim.[13] Uruguay's law against domestic violence is Ley Nº 17.514, enacted in 2002. [14]

According to a 2018 United Nations study, Uruguay has the second-highest rate of killings of women by current or former partners in Latin America, after Dominican Republic.[15]


Main article: Abortion in Uruguay

The abortion law of Uruguay is very liberal compared to the other Latin American countries. In 2012, Uruguay become the second country in Latin America, after Cuba, to legalize elective abortion (during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy).[16]

Women in politics

Unlike most other Latin American countries, women are not very present in politics. Uruguay has one of the lowest percentages of women in politics in Latin America.[17] Only 12% of the members of the Uruguayan parliament are women.[18] Though there are both national and international efforts being made to increase the presence of women in politics,[18] bias in political systems has limited the number of women holding office in Uruguay.[19]

The first female vice president of Uruguay, Beatriz Argimón, was elected to office in 2020.[20] The office of president has never been held by a woman in Uruguay.[21] Beatriz Argimón was one of the founders of the Women's Caucus in Uruguayan parliament before she was elected vice president.[22] Women's Caucuses in non-Western countries are often able to create visibility for women's issues and more effectively pass related legislation.[23] Uruguay's women's caucus was formed in 2000.[23]

See also

Further reading

Asunción Lavrin, Women, Feminism and Social Change: Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, 1890–1940 (Nebraska Press, 1995)


  1. ^ a b "Uruguay | quotaProject: Global Database of Quotas for Women". QuotaProject. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  2. ^ "Labor force participation rate, female (% of female population ages 15-64) (modeled ILO estimate) | Data". Data.worldbank.org. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  3. ^ "Human Development Report 2021/2022" (PDF). HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORTS. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
  4. ^ "Global Gender Gap Report 2022" (PDF). World Economic Forum. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  5. ^ "Culture of Uruguay - history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family". Everyculture.com. 2010-10-09. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  6. ^ "Young Uruguayan women aim to boost their role in politics | UN Women". Archived from the original on 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
  7. ^ "Uruguay Human Rights | Amnesty International USA". Amnestyusa.org. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  8. ^ "Código Penal". Archived from the original on 2015-07-30. Retrieved 2015-06-14.
  9. ^ "Ley N° 19580".
  10. ^ "Uruguay no condena el homicidio por adulterio".
  11. ^ "Violencia doméstica: proponen derogar artículo 36, sobre "pasión provocada por el adulterio"".
  12. ^ "Nuestro Código exonera homicidio por adulterio". Diario La República.
  13. ^ Atlas of Gender and Development: How Social Norms Affect Gender Equality in non-OECD Countries. OECD Publishing. 2010-02-22. p. 134. ISBN 978-92-64-07747-8.
  14. ^ "Ley 17.514". Archived from the original on 2014-12-01. Retrieved 2015-06-14.
  15. ^ "Muerte de mujeres ocasionada por su pareja o ex-pareja íntima". 11 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Uruguay legalises abortion". Bbc.com. 17 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Women in Parliaments: World Classification". Ipu.org. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  18. ^ a b Sundholm, Mattias (2013-08-25). "Young Uruguayan women aim to boost their role in politics". Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. Retrieved 2023-11-07.
  19. ^ Johnson, Niki (2018-02-15). Marginalization of Women and Male Privilege in Political Representation in Uruguay. Vol. 1. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190851224.003.0010.
  20. ^ "Beatriz Argimón se convirtió en la primera mujer electa como vicepresidenta en Uruguay". EL PAIS. 2019-11-28. Retrieved 2023-11-07.
  21. ^ "Authenticity is the key to success, VP of Uruguay tells students". Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs. Retrieved 2023-11-07.
  22. ^ "Beatriz Argimón se convirtió en la primera mujer electa como vicepresidenta en Uruguay". EL PAIS. 2019-11-28. Retrieved 2023-11-07.
  23. ^ a b Johnson, Niki; Josefsson, Cecilia (2016-03-10). "A New Way of Doing Politics? Cross-Party Women's Caucuses as Critical Actors in Uganda and Uruguay". Parliamentary Affairs. 69 (4): 845–859. doi:10.1093/pa/gsw011. ISSN 0031-2290.