|February 20, 2007 —Women in Mexico represent only 35 percent of the country’s economically active population, quite a low percentage compared to other countries with a similar level of development. |
Mexico has made substantial progress in the past 50 years, allowing women to participate more actively in the country’s social and economic life. This progress can be seen in the reduction in gender gaps in education, the improvement in maternal mortality rates, and the increase in women’s participation in economic activities. However, progress has been uneven: for instance, fertility rates among rural, uneducated women are double those of women in urban areas.
The inequalities between men and women in Mexico represent a source of household and community conflicts and have become a handicap for social and economic development.
Mexico’s National Women’s Institute, Inmujeres, was created to address these constraints and to develop strategies that promote equal opportunities for women and men. With this objective in mind, and with the support of the World Bank, Inmujeres launched an innovative project in 2001 called “Generosidad” (Generosity) aimed at fostering gender equity in the context of Mexico’s strategy for poverty reduction and social sustainability.Rather than focusing solely on women’s issues, the Generosidad Program aims to address the consequences of gender roles for both sexes, although it also considers gender links. Extended until December 2005, this project has been a complete success.
During the implementation process, results were divided into individual and group achievements, reinforcing organizational capacity-building, training, methodologies, and access to employment opportunities.
Two models were implemented under the Generosidad Project: the community-based Convive Program and the private sector-based Gender Equity Model (GEM):
The Convive Program developed an incentives program to help create community organizations, train community leaders, and fund activities that contribute to peaceful coexistence through cultural and social activities.
The GEM Model focused on establishing labor practices that foster gender equity in critical areas such as staff recruitment, training and professional development, and prevention of sexual harassment. The GEM’s excellent results have had international repercussions and there is now interest in replicating the program in Central America, Chile, and Egypt.
The most interesting project indicators relate to the level of satisfaction achieved during project implementation. For example, women’s access to financing for productive projects reached 59 percent, well above the original target of 15 percent. Furthermore, 100 percent of Inmujeres staff received training. The number of community leaders trained on the relationship between gender and development also exceeded the original target, with more than 434 beneficiaries.
|The Generosidad Project generated positive outcomes such as a rebirth in community life and civic participation.|
Under the Convive Program, 69 community-based projects to promote gender equity received financial support in various fields of activity.
Convive benefited some 6,000 women who are now playing a major role in community development and family life, and more than 290 women were trained to become leaders and improve the social capital of their communities. According to the beneficiaries themselves, the most successful outcome of this program was that it helped improve the relationship with their partners, and create or strengthen organizations with a more integrated gender perspective and a stronger commitment to promoting civic engagement and community life.
Eighty percent of women's organizations, initially without legal recognition, have gained legal status through the program, allowing them to continue to apply for funding. Technical assistance with a gender perspective contributed to a 59 percent increase in the productive capability of trained leaders and was disseminated to 182 specialists who worked with the non-profit organizations that took part in the program.
Under the Generosidad Program, training on the Gender Equity Model, GEM 2003, was provided to 57 firms, well above the goal of 40 firms proposed at the beginning of the program. The GEM helped incorporate the gender equity perspective in private firms, private sector institutions, and non-governmental organizations, benefitting over 170,000 employees. The major benefits reported include: improved work environment; better internal communication; more women in senior positions; and increased productivity, as well as greater labor stability and corporate social responsibility.
|Under the Convive Program, 69 community-based projects to promote gender equity received financial support in various fields of activity.|
In addition to promoting equal opportunities for men and women, the Generosidad Project generated other positive outcomes such as a rebirth in community life and civic participation, and a commitment to community engagement and participation. Business and private sector networks were established among private sector institutions to exchange experiences on equity. Furthermore, a program aimed at institutionalizing gender equity in the federal public sector was also established.