Getting it Right

Strategic Priorities for Mexico

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Mexico has been a reform champion, having launched ambitious reforms in a broad range of areas. While the reforms are showing first positive effects they are not delivering to the extent they could. On many dimensions of well-being, including education, health and security amongst others, Mexico still lags behind the OECD average and regional development remains very uneven. While Mexico has done a lot to build a competitive economy, progress has been too slow in two complementary areas, namely strengthening institutions and fostering inclusion. The capacity of the public sector is weak, corruption remains widespread and the rule of law is week, all hindering trust in government institutions and the effective implementation of policies. Similarly, persistent inequalities and widespread poverty do not only mean that higher growth does not translate into widespread gains in well-being; these inequalities are also holding back growth as Mexico is not using all available talent. Mexico has taken measures to tackle these issues, but important implementation gaps remain. It will be important for the next government to build on past reform efforts, ensuring the full and effective implementation of already legislated changes to allow for reform continuity and to launch additional reforms in several priority areas, including the rule of law, education and social protection. Only then will Mexico be able to deliver a higher quality of life for all its people.

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Towards greater gender equality

Mexico has a long way to go on the road to gender equality. Over the past two decades, Mexico has achieved some progress thanks to comprehensive laws strengthening women’s rights. However, entrenched acceptance of discriminatory social norms, legal loopholes and inadequate public support for working parents undermine gender equality. Although women’s educational attainment now matches men’s, fewer than half 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 five times as high as the OECD average, 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. Violence against women remains widespread. Aside from the moral imperative, greater gender equality will ensure a more efficient use of Mexico’s resources and promote sustainable inclusive growth.

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