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Mexico Making Progress in Gender Equality

9 March 2011 No Comment

Andrea Cruz. Mexican Air Force Pilot. Courtesy: J. Lira Otero/Notimex

The Gender Inequality Index (GII) is introduced this year in the 2010 edition of the Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It measures the inequality between men and women and is designed to reveal the extent to which national human development achievements are eroded by gender inequality, and to provide empirical foundations for policy analysis and advocacy efforts. It varies between zero (when women and men fare equally) and one (when men or women fare poorly compared to the other in all dimensions).

The IGI measures inequality in achievements between women and men in three dimensions. The first one is related to reproductive health, and it is measured with maternal mortality ratio and the adolescent fertility rate. The second dimension has to do with empowerment and is measured by the share of parliamentary seats held by each sex and by secondary and higher education attainment levels. And lastly, the third dimension is related to the labour market and is measured by women’s participation in the work force.

Mexico has an overall GII of 0.576 and is placed in 68th position among 169 countries in the report and is the best positioned among the two biggest Latin American economies. The countries in Latin American countries with highest scores are Costa Rica and Chile, occupying the 51st and 53rd place, respectively. In particular, and as surprisingly as it may seem, Mexico outstands in women’s participation in politics, with 22.1% share of Congress seats occupied by women. This number stands out if compared with the 17% in the U.S., 19.6% in the United Kingdom, 19.6% in France, 20.2% in Italy, and within Latin America 12.7% in Chile and 9.4% in Brazil.

On another matter, comparatively there is an outstanding 57.7% share of women with ages 25 and older in the overall population with at least secondary education. In this category, Costa Rica itself has 54.4%, Argentina 57% and Brazil 48.8%. Still, looking a little into the numbers, it is possible to see a small difference between women’s education level and that of men in Mexico, with only five points of difference. Whereas in countries with a higher generalized level of education, there is an important different between genres. Men in Austria are in percentage 18 points more educated than women, in Switzerland 15, Italy 8 and Denmark 6 points.

Another aspect in which comparatively Mexico outstands has to do with contraceptive prevalence rate (any method) among married women ages aged 15–49. Mexico has the third highest rate with 70.9% share among the group of countries with high human development. On the same issues, there are still important opportunity areas in terms of teen pregnancy rates, even though there has been a great effort done in the last years. In the same case is still women participation within the labour force, which is 46.3%.

All the later refers to important achievements and breakthroughs in gender equality in Mexico, though there are still important challenges that need to be addressed to guarantee equality conditions between men and women that would allow the country achieve its whole development potential. To acknowledge what has been achieved and what is still Messing is the first step towards taking effective action and making a difference. Congratulations to all Mexican Women in their day and for the extraordinary difference they make for Mexico and the World.

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