Offices Empty as Women Go on StrikeBy Cas Biekmann | Fri, 03/13/2020 - 10:41
This Monday, millions of women went on strike in Mexico following International Women’s Day. 26 percent of female workers experience violence at the workplace, an issue STPS is set to address. In other news, Mexico City addresses informal labor and Mexico’s government sets out to break the glass ceiling.
Read more about this in your weekly roundup!
Women on Strike
On March 9th, the day following International Women’s Day, millions of women chose to withdraw from public life. The day followed one defined by active protests in various cities. Staying away from offices, schools and stores was meant to show what life would look like if women would not arrive safely to their homes, which unfortunately happens over 1,000 times a year in Mexico. President López Obrador, who faced criticism on his somewhat neutral response to feminicide, praised the #UnDiaSinNosotras movement for delivering a strong message in a completely peaceful way.
Nonetheless, not every woman was able to participate. In Mexico’s suburb Ecatepec, El Universal spoke with several women who saw the feminist actions as positive, yet were not able to participate as they could not afford to lose a day’s wage.
Violence at the Workplace
The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) designed a protocol to deal with cases of harassment, sexual or otherwise, at the workplace. Fines for companies tolerating these behaviors can amount up to MX$434,000 (US$19,750).
Luisa Alcalde Luján, Minister of Labor, stressed that issues of harassment, bullying and even outright violence can be observed in companies no matter their size. The STPS protocol underlines differences between sexual harassment and other types of violence such as humiliating jokes. It also differentiates between perpetrators, taking their position and power over the victim into account.
Mexico City Aims to Improve Labor Conditions
According to INEGI, about half of Mexico City’s workers work in an informal environment, depriving them of benefits and social security. The city’s government wishes to change this by adapting programs where work is formalized and to cut down bureaucratic clutter, which prevents small companies from legally setting up shop.
Congress Boosts Reform Against Government’s Glass Ceiling
Around 80 percent of the director general and deputy minister positions are occupied by men. What is more, men in these positions earn more than women do. The problem is not that the federal government lacks women, as they make up 53 percent of the workforce. Several members of Congress are now aiming to balance the scales more fairly, El Economista reports.
The government could look toward the energy sector for guidance. Traditionally dominated by men, the sector now sees more and more women in leading positions. Enrique Alba, CEO of Iberdrola, says this is not a matter of quotas being filled. Rather, it is a reflection of a deeper understanding of how women in executive positions add value to any company. Mexico Energy Forum reflected this trend as well, showcasing several female industry leaders in its panels. Find some of the highlights here.