Uruguay is a country with a high Human Development Index (HDI), ranked in position 50 among 187 countries; and since 1st of July 2013 is considered a high income country based on per capita income measures from the World Bank. The slight over time variation in HDI shows the difficulties the country confronts to advance their social welfare level. With higher levels than the regional mean in life expectancy, literacy and net income, there still are important gaps, like the one that measures the Gender Inequality Index (GII) with a value lower than the HDI (0.367), placing Uruguay 69 among 148 countries.
Despite having good macroeconomic indices Uruguay still faces the challenge of income distribution inequality and structural gender inequalities in areas strategic for development. The CEDAW Country Report (2008) observed that the country has to face gaps in equality policies, public and political participation, employment and health. The gaps have an effect particularly on rural women and Afro-descendants.
The 2013 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) country report states that regarding the national goal of ending gender disparities, part of MDG 3, it has had a positive trend in reducing the gap in labor markets, but still needs to advance in the proportion of women in senior positions and equality in political representation.
At the international level, Uruguay has ratified all international commitments regarding gender equality and women’s rights. At the national level, it has registered advances in legal, programmatic, institutional and budgetary frameworks. The National Institute for Women’s Affairs (INMUJERES) was established in 2005 and it has launched gender equality policies and right’s promotion. The National Plan for Equal Opportunities and Rights (2007-2011) mainstreamed a gender-based approach within the state. During the present administration INMUJERES was given more financial and human resources. Important legislative progress was also recorded, the Domestic Work Law (Law 18065, 2006), Consensual Union Law (Law 18246, 2008), Reproductive and Sexual Health Law (18426, 2008), Law on quotas (Law 18476, 2009), Sexual Harassment Law (Law 18561, 2009), Gender Identity Law (Law 18620, 2009), Voluntary Pregnancy Termination Law (Law 18987, 2012), Parental License Law (Law 19161, 2013) among others.