Ana Güezmes
Mexico Representative
UN Women
View from the Top

The Complicated Road to Equality

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 18:26

Q: What are the main priorities for UN Women Mexico?

A: We have three priority areas. The first is the participation of women in government and in leadership roles. Mexico is one of only eight countries worldwide with electoral parity; in fact, 42 percent of parliamentarians are women. However, there is only one female governor and in the private sector the percentage of female CEOs is only 5 percent.

The second area of priority is economic empowerment. According to INEGI, in 2016 only 43 percent of women in Mexico participated in the workforce, compared with 78 percent of men, so we need to increase the number of employed women, promote formal jobs and end the wage gap. UN Women projects that it will take around 80 years for women to achieve workforce equality.

Our third priority is to increase women’s autonomy regarding health by providing universal access to sexual and reproductive care and by ending gender violence.

Q: What are the main health concerns for women in Mexico?

A: PAHO and UN Women's health division are mainly worried about three situations. The first is teenage pregnancy. We are working on a campaign with 12 UN agencies called De la A a la Z (From A to Z), from Aguascalientes to Zacatecas. The campaign promotes awareness of freedom of choice regarding marriage, because in Mexico one in every five women marries before the age of 18. Another priority in terms of public health is the lack of access to healthcare and pension funds for women who work in the informal sector. This is also the situation for all those women who have to stay at home to take care of family members. In Mexico, more and more people are living longer while su ering from chronic diseases and women are usually responsible for their care. According to the census, in Mexico around 30 million people need permanent care, 3.5 million have a chronic disease, 1.2 million have a disability and a large percentage of the 10 million adults aged over 75 require special care. Our third health concern regarding women is gender violence, which is the clearest expression of inequality.

Q: What has the campaign HeForShe achieved in Mexico?

A: HeForShe is a platform that seeks the commitment of men in the struggle for equality and already has more than 110,000 individual memberships in Mexico. In addition, many universities have integrated the platform. For example, UNAM has committed to imbue their health faculties with a stronger gender perspective on public and individual health. IMSS has also proposed more in-depth training for their health professionals to closely monitor compliance to NOM-046, a regulation that obligates health services to detect and prevent violence against women and to o er safe and legal abortions for victims of sexual violence.

Q: #noesdehombre (#notamanthing) was the first campaign directed at men to raise awareness of sexual violence. How e ective was it?

A: It was a campaign in collaboration with Mexico City that focused on preventing violence on public transport. The elaboration of the campaign was based on a study done by the Mexican college that showed that most men who perform violent actions in public spaces do not consider it violence.

Q: What needs to be done achieve more impact of the awareness against gender violence?

A: When we talk about gender sexual violence, something very perverse happens, which is to say that women are blamed for it and sometimes rape is justified because of the way the woman was dressed or because she was alone. We worked with the government to create a public program that ends impunity. There is a feeling that violence is not an issue because not many cases become public. However, we are working with the Ministry of Interior to get more answers from the media. Most of the attention on the topic comes from campaigns on social networks.