Self-Employment Rises Among Mexican WomenBy Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Wed, 03/10/2021 - 09:07
Self-employment has become an alternative for many people that lost their jobs during the pandemic, with more people identifying as self-employed today than before the outbreak. INEGI reported that the number of self-employed workers was around 12.4 million in October 2020, a 3 percent increase compared to March 2020, reports El Economista. Self-employment has become a solution to many seeking a steady income during this period and 357,700 more people have turned to this economic activity.
A growing trend in the self-employment front is sales through social media groups such as Facebook’s Marketplace, Instagram or WhatsApp. This trend has been strong particularly among women, mainly younger ones, who sell products ranging from clothing, accessories and shoes to household items for the kitchen or bathroom, reports El Economista. This method of self-employment has become popular due to the ease of use of social media platforms and electronic bank transfers. These activities are also part of the informal economy as they are not registered and, in many cases, sellers do not pay taxes. However, these platforms offer an alternative to the reduced number of available jobs in Mexico, reports El Economista.
Some of these women have been labeled “nenis”, a play on the word nena, which means young girl but is also taken to mean “dear,” “sweetie” or “honey.” This became a controversial term that started as a joke in social media but now some consider empowering, reports TecReview. “We appropriated the term; it is empowering. Neni ceased to be a joke and it is now something to be proud of,” said Alinne, a cosmetologist that sells the product at Metro station Chabacanos, to TecReview.
Regardless of the term, these women can be considered entrepreneurs. “Any person that takes initiative and notices a need, a way for it to be solved and does something about it, is an entrepreneur,” said Luz María Velázquez, Gender Equity Expert at Tecnológico de Monterrey, to TecReview. “Working is an expression of one’s freedom, what catches everyone’s eyes is the fact that it is many women that are participating in an economic sector where they did not use to participate. If it were men, things would be treated differently,” Velázquez detailed. According to INEGI, in Mexico only 45 percent of women have a paid job and more than half of them (57 percent) participate in the informal sector, reports TecReview.
The self-employment trend is not exclusive to women and has increased in groups of all ages. Adults over the age of 55, for example, have also registered an increase in self-employment, reports Expansión. Some of them made the decision after realizing the difficulty of finding a job in the current market. Taking advantage of their professional skills, many of these seniors remain active even after retirement.