Gender inequality is one of the most widespread barriers to global development. The World Economic Forum has reported that political participation, economic opportunity, education and health care are still not fully accessible for women around the world and noted that it would take about 132 years to dissolve the gender gap in the world’s current trajectory. Gender inequality in Mexico reflects a similar reality — in 2021, almost 44% of females 15 and older participated in the labor force compared to 75.7% of males. Furthermore, females in Mexico contribute 30.7% of their time to unpaid care work in comparison to just 10% of men. These numbers work to reinforce poverty as having more women in the workplace brings many positive benefits that lift up entire economies. GENDES AC aims to reduce gender inequality in Mexico by focusing on the roles of men.
Gender Inequality in Mexico
The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on just how deeply rooted the exclusion of women is. In Mexico, at the onset of the pandemic, women faced higher rates of job losses and shouldered the burden of unpaid domestic care. According to a study that Paula Andrea Valencia Londoño led, “The inequality in the distribution and use of time is an important determinant in workforce inequality.” Further, “the fact that women bear the brunt of unpaid domestic labors and caregiving has limited their economic participation and constitutes one of the principal barriers to their economic independence.”
Violence against women in Mexico is common and citizens have criticized the government for failing to effectively protect women. A May 2022 Americas Quarterly article said that there are about 10 femicides in Mexico each day. Mexico’s government has largely dissolved social programs aimed at empowering women, contributing to increasing gender equality in the nation.
Founded in 2008, GENDES AC is a nonprofit based in Mexico that fights this gender inequity with a unique approach. In Mexico, “the presence of a machista culture, in which men exaggerate the violent, authoritarian, aggressive aspects of male identity, can be seen in the socially entrenched gender inequality and sexist, patriarchal structures,” said a journal article by Sarah Frances Gordon. This type of cultural norm dictates the nature of relationships between men and women in Mexico, in private spheres as well as in the broader economic landscape.
GENDES AC operates workshops for men to challenge their cultural biases and unlearn the social stigmas surrounding violence and relationships. These workshops teach men to contribute to gender equality and the protection of women by identifying their own actions that contribute to these injustices. GENDES AC’s mission is to involve men in the restructuring of gender norms in order to create a safer space for women to participate in civil society.
GENDES AC also conducts research and partners with local governments and civil society to propose public policy solutions that effectively utilize gender inclusion for development. It releases a number of publications, ranging from providing education about the interplay between masculinity and poverty to guidebooks for those seeking to relearn new behaviors that empower their communities. The organization’s release titled “Gender Equality Policies” offers insight into culturally relevant strategies for Mexico to improve outcomes for women.
Coupled with sound economic and public policy, community-based efforts to restructure power and increase understanding may be the best approach to fighting gender inequality in Mexico. GENDES AC is doing the grassroots work necessary to garner national attention and create change.
– Hannah Yonas