Building an Inclusive Mexico

Building an Inclusive Mexico

Policies and Good Governance for Gender Equality You do not have access to this content

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10 Jan 2017
9789264265493 (PDF) ;9789264265486(print)

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Mexico is slowly advancing on the path to gender equality. Many public policies aimed at empowering women are now in place: over the past two decades, Mexico has increased investments in girls' education, greatly expanded childcare and preschool, improved gender mainstreaming in government, and ensured that female politicians are well-represented at the ballot box. Yet, despite these efforts, many Mexican women still do not feel the effects of these policies at home, at work, or in public spaces. Large gender gaps remain in educational outcomes, participation in the labour market, pay, informality status, and hours of unpaid childcare and housework. “Unlocking Mexico’s full potential,” as Mexico's National Development Plan prescribes, will depend crucially on how well Mexico closes existing gender gaps in political, social and economic life and promotes real social change. Mexico must continue to invest in social and labour market policies that empower women, and reinvigorate efforts to reduce inequalities in education, labour force participation, job quality, unpaid work, and leadership. This will require embedding gender equality objectives in all public policies and budgets, across all levels of government, and ensuring the effective implementation, enforcement, and evaluation of policies and laws to achieve inclusive outcomes.

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  • Foreword and acknowledgements

    The OECD has been championing gender equality on many grounds for many years. We have not only provided evidence of why gender discrimination is bad for individuals, for families and for society as a whole, and the level of well-being they aspire to, but also how it negatively affects the growth potential of our economies. The strong support that the OECD has provided, as well as the diligent work carried out by the Sherpas (including the OECD), have elevated the importance of the gender agenda and have led to strong commitments by both G20 and G7 Leaders. This work has helped to further advance the G20 gender target, aiming to reduce the gap in labour force participation rates between men and women by 25% by 2025.

  • Preface

    In the context of the worst financial crisis in a lifetime, the gender agenda has acquired more visibility and importance as it provides us with answers in our quest for a more balanced and sustainable growth model. It is therefore not surprising that gender is often at the top of leaders’ agendas, with meaningful outcomes in both the G20 and the G7. The OECD has been a proud partner in these efforts.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    Women are Mexico’s most undervalued resource. Although their educational attainment now matches men’s, only 47% of working-age Mexican women are in the labour force. Nearly 60% of Mexico’s working women hold informal jobs, with little social protection and low pay. Mexico’s adolescent pregnancy rate remains high, and the share of young women not in employment, education, or training is nearly four times the rate for young men. Across all age groups, Mexican mothers are less likely to be employed than mothers in most OECD countries.

  • Gender, growth and government: Reaching Mexico's potential

    This chapter presents an overview of Building an Inclusive Mexico: Policies and Good Governance for Gender Equality. This report finds that Mexico has a long way to go on the road to gender equality. Mexican women's economic outcomes, including labour force participation, continue to lag behind those in most other OECD countries. Mexico's adolescent pregnancy rate remains high, and the share of young women not in employment, education, or training is nearly four times the share for young men. Mexican women continue to suffer from high levels of violence and face pervasive gender stereotyping. Despite these challenges, however, there is cause for optimism. Mexico is building an advanced legal and policy framework aimed at achieving substantive gender equality, has seriously committed to gender mainstreaming in government, and has become a global leader in the representation of women in the national legislature, in part due to quotas in the electoral process. Mexico has made good progress in social policies, as well, particularly in early childhood education and care, and has committed to eradicating gender-based violence. These are crucial improvements, but major advances are still needed to mainstream gender in policy design, implementation, enforcement, and evaluation. With strong mandates and resources, Mexico can ensure that policies’ intended effects are fully realised. Chapter 1 closes with a summary of policy recommendations aimed at promoting gender equality in Mexico.

  • The status of women in Mexico

    Mexican women have made significant progress in labour force participation, education, and political representation in recent years. Despite these gains, Mexico’s female labour force participation rate remains among the lowest in the OECD, the gender gap in workforce participation is high, and Mexican women generally have lower-quality jobs than their male counterparts. The challenges common to the development process hit women particularly hard: female workers are much more likely than male workers to hold informal jobs, and many women live in poverty. Public opinion polls reveal that society's expectations and attitudes towards women are changing, as younger Mexicans take a more egalitarian view towards women’s roles. Nevertheless, Mexican women continue to face gender stereotyping, discrimination, and very high rates of violence.

  • Facing high barriers to paid work: Young women and mothers in Mexico

    This chapter examines barriers to women’s participation in paid work in Mexico. Some women fare worse than others in entering, remaining, and progressing in the labour force. Mothers and young women face particularly high barriers. Mexico’s female NEET (not in employment, education, or training) rate is the second highest in the OECD, and young women are nearly four times as likely to be NEETs as young men in Mexico. One key challenge is that more than half of these young women are mothers. The gap between mothers and non-mothers’ labour force participation rates is relatively large in Mexico during the main working-age years: 25- to 54-year-old mothers are about eight percentage points less likely to be in paid work than comparably-aged women without dependent children. The barriers to labour market participation are especially high when children are very young, as Mexico has relatively weak public supports in parental leave and early childhood education and care (ECEC). Although ECEC services in Mexico have grown enormously over the past two decades, especially following the introduction of compulsory preschool for 3- to 5-year-olds, demand for ECEC still far outpaces supply for infants and toddlers. Fewer than ten percent of children under age three have access to formal care, and quality of care remains a concern. Chapter 3 concludes with a call for improved investments in social supports for families, rigorous evaluations of social policies, embedding gender considerations in planning and evaluation, and better assessments of how policies, laws, and institutions interact to affect women and girls.

  • Time poverty, informal work and women's jobs in Mexico

    Mexican women and men struggle to secure good quality jobs and achieve work-life balance. Nearly 60% of working women and 50% of working men are in informal jobs. These high rates of informality correspond with lower earnings quality, job and income insecurity, and low levels of social protection, especially for women. Compared to workers in other OECD countries, Mexicans also spend very long hours in paid work. The culture of long paid hours, combined with Mexican women’s disproportionate responsibility for unpaid work, reinforces gendered outcomes in the labour market and at home. Fathers, who are more likely to commit to long hours in the workforce, lose out on valuable time with their family and are less able to contribute at home. Women, who typically devote more time to caring for family members, are more likely to scale back or drop out of the workforce entirely. Addressing these challenges will require the combined efforts of government, employers, and families.

  • Bringing women to the decision-making table

    This chapter provides an overview of trends in women’s participation in public life in Mexico – in Congress, the courts and the Federal Public Administration. While Mexico has made significant progress in increasing women’s representation in elected bodies over recent years – making it one of the top OECD countries for female political participation – their access to positions of power within both Houses of Congress remains uneven. There are still gender gaps in access to leadership in the judicial and executive branches of government, too, and in the Federal Public Administration. The chapter examines the mechanisms and policies in place to support women’s access to positions of power. It also explores the barriers to women’s participation in public life and in senior positions, such as political violence, a culture of long hours and limited work-life balance policies. It closes with a series of targeted recommendations.

  • Tools to promote gender equality and inclusive policies

    This chapter examines how, over the past decade, Mexico has sought to make the gender perspective an objective that cuts across all policy and budget processes at all levels of government. At present, nearly all institutions in the Federal Public Administration are stepping up their efforts to design policies that are geared to narrowing the gender gap in their sectors of government. For these efforts to take hold and achieve long-lasting impact, it is crucial to systematically maximise the use of policy tools such as gender impact-assessments, gender-responsive budgeting and the collection of genderdisaggregated data that support evidence-based policy making. Accordingly, this chapter examines what tools and mechanisms Mexico is currently using in pursuit of its gender equality objectives. To that end, it references the OECD Recommendation on Gender Equality in Public Life to provide further guidance on how Mexico can ensure inclusive, sustainable gender-sensitive policies.

  • Gender equality across the board: Smart implementation for the long haul

    Mexico’s commitment to gender equality can be fully implemented only if it is underpinned by sound governance structures and mechanisms. Mexico has made headway in developing an institutional framework for achieving gender equality. It consists of a national system for equality between men and women, a national policy and oversight mechanisms to hold government accountable for achieving results. Yet, Mexico’s growing efforts to achieve gender equality still deliver only limited results. Inequalities persist between women and men across society, especially at sub-national levels. The gender gap points to some weak or broken links in the gender equality delivery chain. This chapter assesses the overall institutional framework –institutions’ mandates, the allocation of resources, institutional capacity and accountability mechanisms – for furthering gender equality in Mexico.

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