This paper examines educational inequality in nine Latin American countries at the sub-country level from the 1950s to the 1990s. Educational inequality is measured by the difference in schooling years between the taller and the shorter half of the female population. Schooling years significantly increased across birth cohorts, especially before the 1980s, regardless of socio-economic stratum, region or country. However, educational inequality persisted. This finding reflects the achievement of the import substitution industrialisation era in educational development and its failure in mitigating the unequal distribution of education rooted in Latin America's social structure. Trade liberalisation and educational expansion are found to reduce educational inequality in capital and urban regions, whereas democracy and tax reform increased it. By contrast, educational inequality in rural regions was hardly influenced by policy changes. This finding urges future explorations into whether the persistence of educational inequality in rural regions is due to endemic social structure.