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Gender Inequality in Mexico’s Labor Market Remains an Issue

By Anamary Olivas | Tue, 08/16/2022 - 18:30

The gender gap in Mexican companies is not diminishing at the rate that was expected, even though half of the country’s companies implemented a diversity committee and have goals for women representation. However, in four years, women merely increased their presence in senior positions from only 13.4 to 13.9 percent, found consulting firm McKinsey.


Companies and their leaders are more aware of the gender gap in Mexico. In fact, most say that it is a priority to close this gap, but in practice companies keep women away from the top jobs. At the rate with which Mexican companies implement equality policies, it will take a century for women to access top-level management positions.


A study conducted by McKinsey indicates that in 2018, 13.4 percent of managerial positions in the country were held by women. One pandemic later, which included much discourse surrounding workplace diversity, the presence of women workers at the highest levels of a company grew to only 13.9 percent. At this rate, it would be 2050 when Mexico reaches 20 percent.


“If these trends in senior management representation and salaries continue, it will take 100 years to reach gender parity in Mexico. At this rate, neither the current workforce nor the next two or three generations will witness gender parity,” warns the Women Matter 2022 report.


Since the first publication of that study in 2018, "progress has been marginal," says Valentina Ibarra, Partner, McKinsey & Company Mexico, in an interview with El Economista. “In general, women represented 35 percent of the workforce and for this edition, the growth was only 38 percent. When we break that percentage down by positional hierarchy, we see that less than 14 percent have achieved senior positions.”


More women are moving to the corporate sector in Mexico, but very few have accessed senior executive positions at major companies. This infers the existence of the glass ceiling, which refers to the limit of how far a qualified woman could advance within her organization. “The role of women in Mexico is changing. The real challenge for women in Mexico, and elsewhere, is to increase the numbers and the breadth of their participation and gain a say in the way things are run,” said Shannon O’Neil, Vice President and Deputy Director of Studies, Council for Latin America Studies, as well as Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow.


Despite company efforts to diversify their workforce and legislation toward equal opportunities, women are still in the minority of decision-making positions. According to business analysts, companies have much to gain by increasing their efforts here: the better that employees of all genders are treated, the higher profits and productivity that organizations gain in return.


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Anamary Olivas Anamary Olivas Journalist & Industry Analyst