The Future of Women in the WorkplaceTue, 12/01/2015 - 18:11
Lorena Cruz Sánchez, President of Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres (INMUJERES) began her conference by highlighting the importance of empowering women, both for their personal lives and for the entire Mexican economy. She delved into the inequalities women face in Mexico, starting from elementary school. According to the OECD, Mexican women graduate at an almost equal rate to men, but have fewer opportunities. There are also certain careers where gender seems segregated but this gap is shrinking. On the other hand, female participation in economic activity has increased by 4% in the past ten years, but this is not enough, especially in comparison to Chile, Colombia, and the US. In Mexico, there is a considerable opportunity for women to increase their participation in the economy.
Cruz mentioned that women often have to juggle a double workload, as they often work both inside and outside of the house. Wages are also dissimilar in comparison to their male peers, and in order to achieve equal pay it is necessary to increase women’s wages by 6%. Cruz mentioned that even though the pay is lower, women have to work longer hours. On average, women work 63 hour weeks, while men work 53. She proceeded to list further statistics detailing female inequity in the workplace, including the fact that 15% of working women over 15 years of age claim to have faced a complicated situation that arose as a result of their gender, 10% claim to have suffered discrimination, and 19% have suffered workplace or sexual harassment.
This situation has social and economic implications for the whole country. At a macroeconomic level, the country loses productivity. “Greater participation of women in the workplace can raise the GDP by 25%,” says Cruz. She believes that in order to do this, it is necessary to create appropriate positioning for women and improve their working conditions. Cruz also remarked on the importance of creating a safe work environment for women to facilitate their self-sufficiency. “In Mexico, 63 out of every 100 women have suffered from violence,” she mentioned, “and a woman who is not self-sufficient will probably be unable to break out of this circle.”
Cruz finished her speech by emphasizing the importance of involving the public sector in the dialogue, and remarked that the present presidential administration has promoted workplace equality. She said, “This is a matter in which everyone must be involved, as gender equality is a key element in the competitiveness of Mexico”