The fight for women’s rights and gender equality in Mexico has come a long way but still needs improvement. Currently, the country still presents many challenges and obstacles for women to achieve equality. Mexican women face verbal and sexual abuse daily.

Recognizing the dire need for change, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are working hard to empower Mexican women. They are advocating for more women’s participation in politics and government. Here are some NGOs leading the fight for gender equality in Mexico.   

Fondo Semillas 

Fondo Semillas (“Seeds Fund”) is a nonprofit feminist organization based in Mexico. It focuses on improving Mexican women’s lives. The organization’s overarching mission is to create an equitable country where women can make their own decisions.

Launched during the 1968 student movement in Mexico City that represented a breakthrough for young Mexican women, Fondo Semillas seeks to mobilize domestic and international resources. To do this, it seeks institutional, corporate and individual donors. The organization also collaborates with other feminist groups to advance women’s rights.

Rather than coming up with short-term solutions, Fondo Semillas targets the roots of the problems and builds structural policies to address the issues. Through this work, Fondo Semillas has four key gender equity goals. These are protecting women’s bodies, preserving the women’s relationships with nature, advocating for job opportunities for women and preserving women’s identities in the country.

Simone de Beauvoir Leadership Institute (ILSB)  

The Simone de Beauvoir Leadership Institute (ILSB) is a feminist Mexican non-governmental organization (NGO) that endeavors to strengthen social leadership and citizen participation for women. The organization’s goal is to enhance justice, equity and gender equality in Mexico by helping feminist leaders and activists influence policies. ILSB also focuses on empowering women to demand progress. To advance these goals, ILSB aims to build a culture of activism and knowledge for women. Further, it strives to establish alliances between leaders who value gender equality in Mexico.

Through its advocacy projects and digital campaigns, ILSB is notable as a gender equality trailblazer. In short, the NGO wants to create female leaders who have a commitment to social justice and gender equality. Through these activists, ILSB hopes to change of realities of discrimination and inequality in Mexico.   

Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (“May Our Daughters Return Home”)  

Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (“May Our Daughters Return Home”) is an organization that strives to fight against femicide in Mexico. Founded after the murders and disappearances of Mexican women in the State of Chihuahua, Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa hopes to demand justice for women by focusing on returning the bodies of victims to their families for a proper burial. It also strives to bring aggressors to justice.

The organization attempts to advance these goals by providing legal guidance and social justice support for families whose daughters disappeared. It addresses both physical and mental health issues of affected family members. Not only does Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa inform the state government about any human rights violations but it also demands more accountability from the government. It does this by asking the government to allocate resources for women who femicide affects. Through these works, Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa addresses the ongoing problem of femicide and fights for advancing gender equality in Mexico.   

Las Libres  

Las Libres is a feminist organization with the primary mission to promote women’s human rights and to demand respect for women’s rights across Mexico. The organization specifically aims to provide women with access to legal and medical services. It also focuses on empowering indigenous, uneducated or low-income women.

Las Libres conducts educational workshops for women in marginalized communities. These aim to build awareness of women’s rights and create a safe environment for women to exercise their rights. They also offer legal and medical support for women who are victims of gender-based violence. Through this work, the organization envisions a future for gender equality in Mexico. 


PSYDEH is a feminist, grassroots Mexican nongovernmental organization (NGO) that empowers rural and indigenous people with training in human rights and citizen development.  Further, it helps them to become leaders of their own marginalized communities. The NGO believes that change needs to come from the bottom up.

PSYDEH views women as central to families and societies. That is why the NGO presents women-led workshops to educate women on creating solutions to local problems. Further, the workshops teach women to utilize resources for improving their decision-making and their understanding of the law. By partnering with like-minded organizations, PSYDEH also helps women develop local projects for improving their quality of life. Through this work, the organization hopes to improve the self-awareness of Mexican women and foster solidarity between marginalized communities. Finally, it also aims to empower women to take action to better their own lives.   

Moving Forward

Gender inequality continues to pose problems for Mexico. However, these five NGOs are working hard to provide services and competency so that Mexican women can promote gender equality in Mexico.

– Tri Truong
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts about Girls’ Education in Mexico
Educating girls is known to boost the economy and social development indicators. When a girl is more educated, she is more likely to have fewer children, work full-time, have an increased life expectancy and her children are less likely to die young. In developing countries like Mexico, issues like these are of the utmost importance for the development of the country. In the text below, top 10 facts about girls’ education in Mexico are presented.

Top 10 Facts about Girls’ Education in Mexico

  1. Mexico mandates free primary and secondary education for children. After secondary school, students can choose between college and technical school. Women tend to outnumber men in technical schools.
  2. Mexican girls who live in rural areas tend to be less educated than their male counterparts. This is because of the prevalence of poverty, a marked lack of access to health care and social services and inadequate infrastructure provisions such as roads, water systems and telephone services. Parents might also be more reluctant to educate their daughters due to the cultural priority placed on getting married.
  3. Many girls in Mexico get married young, leading them to have many children instead of staying in school. The BBC reported that more than 320,000 girls between the ages of 12 and 17 were cohabiting with a man. More than 80 percent of these girls who were formally married left school. More than 90 percent of those who lived informally with the man dropped out of school.
  4. Although the literacy rate for women between the ages of 15 and 24 years old is 98.5 percent, women still overwhelmingly carry the burden of household chores and looking after children instead of pursuing higher education or advancing in their careers. Most girls drop out of school and become housewives instead of being incorporated into the workforce.
  5. Indigenous girls in Mexico face perhaps the most barriers to the attainment of even advanced primary level education. The poverty of many indigenous families conditions them to view their daughters, let alone their education, as a heavy economic burden. Mayan girls usually help with their parents’ income through agricultural work and household chores. Thus, they must drop out of school in the early stages.
  6. Although there are scholarships and programs to alleviate the cost of their daughters’ educations, many parents aren’t aware of them. There is a clear informational asymmetry regarding this question. Even if the parents did know of the existence of these programs and scholarships, they would not know how to apply for them.
  7. Indigenous girls also face a language barrier when learning the national curriculum. For example, girls from the Yucatan Maya community speak the Mayan language but are taught in Spanish. For this reason, they participate minimally in class and are often overlooked by teachers.
  8. Some Mayan girls report facing discrimination from their teachers and peers at school that obviously hinders their education. During interviews researchers conducted with some Mayan girls, they expressed feeling humiliated and discouraged when their classmates and even teachers called them derogatory names related to being darker-skinned or having trouble speaking Spanish.
  9. Rural Mexican girls have difficulty getting to school safely because of how remote their villages are. Unpredictable transportation often means walking long distances in desolate areas, leaving girls exposed to threats of physical or sexual violence on the roads.
  10. Mexico is a member of the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI). This initiative is committed to narrowing the gender gap in education through the enhanced focus on marginalized and excluded groups, reduction, or in best case elimination, of school-related gender violence and improved learning outcomes for girls.

Mexico still has a long way to go before it eliminates the drastic gender gap in education, particularly for rural and indigenous women. However, with efforts such as the UNGEI, the situation appears hopeful and is changing for the better.

– Maneesha Khalae
Photo: Flickr

Girls' Education in Mexico
Girls’ education in Mexico is a complex issue. Despite a 98.5 percent literacy rate among girls 15 to 24, many female students in Mexico tend to leave school early. Research suggests that primary school education becomes useless because most women are forced to drop out of school in order to be present for various household duties. Founding president of the Mexican Federation of University Women, Patricia Galeana, says that “girls do not miss school for lack of intellect, but because there is social deprivation.”

There are various reasons for the decline of girls’ education in Mexico. Worldwide, Mexico has the eighth-highest number of child marriages. Gender inequality is a big concern and violence against women is also a common challenge in the country, which hinders girls’ education in almost every respect. At the same time, the roles of women vary from one region to another. The Zapotec community of Juchitan, for example, is a matriarchal society where women play more leading roles than males.

Latin America is the only region with an increase of marriages every year. About 83 percent of married girls do not attend school and the number rises to 92 percent if informal unions are counted. Mexico City-based research claims that 25,000 girls between 12 to 14 are in an early marriage union.

Research also says indigenous girls face more hindrance than other girls in Mexico. Primary schools are free and mandatory in the country and taught mostly in Spanish. With more than 68 linguistic groups, there comes an uneven learning process in classrooms. The opportunity to attend primary schools is nearly equal for both females (49 percent) and males (51 percent), but due to socio-economic problems, women are forced to work and support their family.

Mexico has been making slow progress over the past few years. The country is focusing on making progress toward internet access through a dual work effort from Women’s Rights Online Network and a nonprofit called Derechos Digitales. The duo has launched a Digital Gender Gap scorecard, which will focus on improving public internet infrastructure, especially in poor and rural areas, and also make an effort to stop gender inequality.

The director of gender equality in the Ministry of Public Education, Claudia Alonso, points out that the stereotypical choice of degrees by women needs to be challenged. Women are mostly seen taking up subjects related to nursing, preschool education, and accounting. More emphasis needs to be put on STEM career choices for women.

Mexico’s Ministry of Public Education has joined with the Mexican Academy of Science and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development to focus on promoting STEM girls’ education in Mexico. The University of Texas at San Antonio is working with Mexican Universities to teach various concepts of STEM. The U.S. Mexico foundation has also taken up a program called Mujeres en STEM to encourage more women.

In general, girls’ education in Mexico is improving slowly. The Washington Post claims that in 2012, Mexico produced 130,000 more engineers and technicians than countries like Canada, Germany and Brazil, which have larger populations. Women are enrolling in universities more, even with gender equality being deficient. Women are also seeking paid employment and about 20 percent of Senators have been female since 2006, which suggests that the influence of women in politics is increasing.

– Shweta Roy
Photo: Flickr