Mexico is the second most populated country in Latin America, with over 122 million inhabitants as of 2014 data, 52.2% are women and almost 79% live in urban areas. The Indigenous population in the country is around 16 million, belonging to 68 different ethnic and linguistic groups. GDP is close to USD 1,261 trillion and a per capita GDP close to USD 10,000 in 2013, Mexican economy is the second largest one in the region and the 14th globally. Nevertheless Mexico is a clear example of the paradox of middle income countries: it has a high Human Development Index, 71, but more than 53 million people (45.5%) live in poverty. At the same time Mexico faces social, economic and land ownership disparities, as well as persistent social disadvantages and high indices of discrimination, that are the cause and consequence of continuous marginalization in wide sectors of the population, mainly women, girls, indigenous population and migrants.
Mexico has made significant progress in the achievement of women’s rights and gender equality, especially in key areas at federal level: strengthening of national laws to ensure women and men equality; strong gender institutionalism and increased public resources earmarked for gender equality.
The National Development Plan (2013 – 2018) for the first time mainstreams gender equality and women’s empowerment in all its areas, and the National Gender Equality Policy (2013 – 2018) is focused on advancing substantive equality. The federal budget earmarked for equality among men and women reached USD 1, 65 billion in 2015, which represents a 157% increase, but it represents only 0.5% of public spending.
In 2014 the highest advance in the gender equality field was the Political-Electoral Reform; it elevated gender parity to a constitutional level for candidacies to Federal and State Congress. In March 2015 this advance solidified when parity became a statutory obligation to register candidates.
Despite the progress made, gender equality in Mexico faces a series of structural challenges characterized by an unrelenting gap between formal and substantive equality in all areas of development; it means that there is an implementation gap between what is stated in the laws, plans, programs and budgets on women’s rights and practical implementation and compliance in daily life. Progress has also been made in law and policy harmonization with international commitments, especially CEDAW, this harmonization is still partial, mainly at state and municipal level.
Accountability of gender equality achievements is still deficient, insufficient funding persists and predictability for the gender equality agenda in the country, in domestic resources as well as international. In February 2015, the federal government announced a considerable public spending reduction (20%), this negatively affected government resource mobilization to achieve gender equality.
A cause for concern is the escalation of generalized violence in several target areas of the country, showing patterns of human rights violations and impunity at all levels, in particular enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detention, as well as attacks on human rights activists and journalist men and women alike.
UN Women in Mexico
UN Women in Mexico works, to accelerate compliance with international commitments regarding gender equality and women’s empowerment, with the three branches of government, civil society – especially with women’s organizations – academia and UN agencies. The programs and initiatives implemented in the country stem from its mandate areas.
Leadership and political participation of women
UN Women works to ensure full participation of women in decision-making processes at all levels. It specially directs efforts to the compliance with special temporary measures (affirmative action), achievement of the gender parity goal for elected office positions and prioritizes leadership strengthening in indigenous and young women.
Looks to foster dialog among key actors, promote cultural change within political parties, carry out professional training and mentorships for candidates, inform the public about the political rights of women, as well as promote accountability and follow up systems for the electoral-political rights of women.
Women’s Economic Empowerment
UN Women places special focus on innovative programs to drive the financial independence of women, considering among its priorities migrant workers and rural and indigenous entrepreneurs. It also works to develop public systems that respond to care needs and make visible the contributions of women to the economy, especially to unpaid work and its link with time poverty of women.
End discrimination and violence against women and girls
To UN Women prevention is key, with emphasis on legal harmonization, women’s Access to justice, prevention of violence against women with the aim of exacting cultural and social change, production and management of knowledge. We launched the UNITE campaign to end violence against women and girls as “Let’s Paint Mexico in Orange”.
National Planning, Strategies and Budgets with a gender perspective
UN Women fosters mainstreaming the gender perspective in key sectors. In federal and municipal institutions it promotes planning and earmarked budgets with gender perspective. Advances compliance with the recommendations made to Mexico by the Human Rights Committees. Supports the country’s efforts of generating gender statistics and with them uphold government plans and programs, promote accountability on the advancement of women.
UN Women Mexico strategic line has been to incorporate gender perspective in the production and analysis of statistics to design, implement, monitor and evaluate public policies for the achievement of substantive equality.
UN Women Mexico focuses its work on gender statistics in three key priority issues: .
- Violence against women and girls
- Economic empowerment (time use and unpaid work)
- Political participation and decision-making
To strengthen gender statistics UN Women has established a strong partnership with the National Institute for Women, National Institute of Statistics and Geography, and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Mexico has positioned itself as an important regional and global actor in this area launching with this agreements the South to South and Triangular Cooperation.