Using 19 years of cross-section wage data, we look at the trend of the ratio of male to female wages in Colombia. First, we observe a long-term trend towards an increase in the gender wage gap that may be related to new labor regulations giving more protection to women and thereby raising the cost of female employment for firms. Second, we measure the impact on poverty of the increasing gap by producing estimates of the income distribution for the subsequent years had the wage gap remained at the low level it used to be in the early 1990s. As mainly low-skilled women suffered from the increase in the wage gap, we find that the phenomenon contributed to an overall increase in poverty during the decade. Copyright 2006 The Authors; Journal compilation 2006 CEIS, Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini and Blackwell Publishing Ltd..