Peru illustrates how legal reforms can effectively drive an increase in female labor force participation and financial inclusion. During the 1990s, the country reformed its customary laws — followed primarily in indigenous and rural communities — that limited women's right to work, access banking and financial services, and own and inherit assets. After the enactment of these reforms, women's formal labor force participation increased by 15 percent within a decade; in fact, the International Monetary Fund found that securing women's legal rights in Peru and elsewhere is associated with shrinking the gap in labor force participation between women and men. Progress continues: from 2000 to 2014, the labor force participation rate of Peruvian women increased from 58 to 68 percent — a level higher than most Latin American countries. As poverty levels diminished, women increased their contribution to Peru's production of goods and services. These gains added to a level of GDP growth that has led to Peru today having one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America.
60 percent of all female workers in Peru are informal laborers This data is not available for
Nevertheless, economic and cultural constraints continue to limit women’s employment opportunities. Women tend to be segregated into lower paying jobs, such as nursing and teaching, and time — consuming household responsibilities (women perform the majority of unpaid care work) further constrain their job options. Gender gaps remain widest in poor, rural, and indigenous communities. Women who are unable to find jobs in the formal economy frequently head their own small —  and medium — sized enterprises out of necessity, and about 70 percent of these business ventures are informal. Many female entrepreneurs have relatively strong access to finance, due to improved property rights as well as government policies to increase women’s access to capital. However, many women operating self-owned businesses face challenges in achieving the financial literacy necessary to scale their businesses or bring them into the formal sector.
Furthermore, women in the informal economy are not covered by government policies to promote and protect women in the workforce and are more vulnerable to market risks. Government data shows that 60 percent of all women workers in the country continue to work in the informal economy, with only 15 percent having health coverage and 4 percent enjoying retirement benefits. While the country has a ninety-eight-day maternity leave policy and other programs to support working mothers, women in the informal sector do not benefit from them.