Women's Economic Empowerment in Mexico
In recent decades Mexico has made significant changes to close the gender gap. These progressive impacts include a series of legislative initiatives in 2002, 2008, 2014, and the 2015-2018 National System for Equality between Women and Men. Additionally, political parties promise to promote gender equality in nominations and to allocate money towards training women. By promoting women’s economic empowerment in Mexico, women of all backgrounds can achieve financial independence.

Obstacles To Financial Independence

Women in Mexico face several obstacles toward reaching financial independence. Martina Zoldos, a Slovanian writer, described the discrimination she faced while interviewing for a job in Mexico. Zoldos was asked, “whether [her] husband agreed with [her] decision of having a 9-to-5 office job.”

Traditional values are often placed on Mexican women. A study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development discovered that in Mexico, “only 45% of women between the age of 16 and 64 are employed, yet women perform over 75 percent of unpaid household work and childcare.” Additionally, women face daily violence in the form of rape, domestic abuse, and sexual harassment.

The United Nations identifies Mexico as one of the most violent countries for women. In 2017, The National Institute for Statistics and Geography detailed that 66% of women over 15 experienced some form of violence. In 2018, Mexico’s Security Minister Alfonzo Durazo signed a memorandum with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) to “strengthen actions against gender-based violence.” In addition to violence, women also struggle with access to justice, education, and opportunities. However, organizations like UN Women make it possible for women’s economic empowerment in Mexico.

The Work of UN Women

UN Women seeks to improve the financial independence of women. Various international organizations work for women’s economic empowerment, such as the Beijing Platform for Action, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the International Labour Organization. UN Women prioritizes migrant workers and rural and indigenous entrepreneurs. The agency also develops public systems that recognize the contributions of women to the economy.

The programs encourage women to secure decent jobs, build assets, and influence public policies and institutions. To improve women’s economic empowerment in Mexico, UN Women provides for the most vulnerable women. That work often happens in tandem with civil society groups and grassroots movements. UN Women works to develop financial skills among rural women, domestic workers, and migrants. They aim to help these marginalized women find decent work, earn higher incomes, and gain access to and control of resources. The agency also provides resources for women that face violence.

Government efforts also improve the lives of indigenous women. These women have the highest levels of illiteracy, maternal mortality, domestic violence, and poverty in the country. The government supports groups of indigenous embroiderers that create and sell fair-trade art. These efforts empower indigenous women to take part in local and state elections. While there is more to accomplish in protecting women against violence, financial independence can open doors for many women and generations to come.

– Mia Mendez
Photo: Flickr

Agriculture in Nepal

The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal has an estimated population of more than 26 million and is known for its mountain peaks that include the legendary Mount Everest. Agriculture in Nepal is a major aspect of the economy, employing more than 66 percent of the workforce. Because so many of Nepal’s citizens rely on agriculture for their income, many economic development initiatives in Nepal are focused on efficient, sustainable agricultural practices. Here are four organizations supporting agriculture in Nepal:

4 Organizations Supporting Agriculture in Nepal

  1. Educate the Children – Founded by Pamela Carson in 1989, Educate the Children Nepal (ETC) focuses on three main goals: children’s education, women’s empowerment and agricultural development. ETC’s agricultural programs assist rural Nepali women in furthering their knowledge of sustainable practices. Women learn methods for composting and for making pesticides. ETC also provides tools and seeds so that women can expand their crops. Importantly, the organization tailors its methods to different regions, emphasizing locally viable crops. In the first half of 2019, ETC reports that 31 rural women were able to increase their household income by 10 to 25 percent by growing and selling mushrooms.
  2. FORWARD Nepal – The Forum for Rural Welfare and Agricultural Reform for Development (FORWARD) has been working to aid Nepalis living in poverty since 1997. Committed to promoting economic equality, FORWARD provides vocational training for workers in several industries, including forestry, fishing and agriculture. Its website emphasizes an intent to “utilize and promote local knowledge and skills” and to develop community organizations and resource centers. Some of FORWARD’s agricultural programs have included distributing seeds to earthquake victims, training people to cultivate dry riverbeds and promoting climate-smart rice-lentil cropping systems. In the fiscal year 2017-2018, FORWARD Nepal’s riverbed farming program reached 200 households and its rice-fallow crop program benefited 459. The same year, the organization ran a project focused on dairy production techniques, which reached an estimated 5,000 households.
  3. U.N. Women – The Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment (RWEE) Joint Programme is a collaboration between U.N. Women, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme.  The RWEE program is focused on supporting rural women in seven countries, including Nepal. According to U.N. Women, the program supports 3,400 women. One RWEE project involved water access in the village of Paltuwa where water scarcity had resulted in women farmers devoting large portions of their day to carrying water to their farms from the river. As a consequence, crop yields were low and farmers struggled economically. A 2016 RWEE project resulted in the building of an irrigation system in Paltuwa, which has improved agricultural production. The RWEE program also employs women to work on construction projects related to agriculture. During the building of the Community Agriculture Extension Service Centre in Ranichuri, 130 women were employed.
  4. SADP-Nepal – Established in 2004, Sustainable Agriculture Development Program, Nepal (SADP-Nepal) is headquartered in Pokhara, Nepal. SADP-Nepal promotes sustainable agricultural practices, lobbies for organic agriculture and supports collaboration among farmers. The organization’s motto, “Happy Soil, Happy Life,” shows an emphasis on sustainable practices. Some of the SADP-Nepal’s projects include community farms, awareness-raising campaigns and disaster-relief programs. In the wake of the April 2015 earthquake, SADP-Nepal provided rice, lentils, noodles and tents to thirteen families affected by the earthquake. SADP-Nepal also promotes eco-tourism as a way to generate income for local farmers by providing organic food for visitors.

Final Thoughts

While many Nepalis struggle economically, the poverty rate has been decreasing in recent years, dropping from 25 percent in 2010 to 21 percent in 2018. With continued support for agricultural workers, hopefully, the economic situation in Nepal will continue to improve.

– Meredith Charney
Photo: Wikimedia