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Employment rates for women in Mexico are very low; in 2019, only 44.2% of all women were involved in the labour force compared to 78.5% of men (2). This untapped labour force, if mobilised, would raise Mexico’s GDP by up to 70% (2). Accompanying low participation rates in the labour force, are disproportionately high levels of work in the domestic sphere (including housework and childcare) as women complete more than 75% of household duties (2). In regards to the paid workforce, women work primarily in the informal sector (where 58.8% of women work) (2), as nurses (85% of nurses are women) (2) and in retail (over half of those working in retail are women) (2). In 2018, only 6% of board directors were women (2) and women held only 10% of executive committee positions (2). At every level there is an average pay gap of 18.8% (2), however this rises to 22% when considering women working at the executive level (2).


Despite a large gender pay gap, women are well represented in many levels of education. In 2018-2019, women represented 49.5% of those enrolled in bachelor degree programs (2) and 52.1% of students in postgraduate programs (2). Furthermore, women aged 25-34 are 4% more likely to gain tertiary degrees than men in their age category (2). However women are very underrepresented in Stem (only 14.5% of women have degrees in this field) and in the fields of business and law (only 34.2% of women have degrees in these subjects) (2). Additionally, despite high numbers of female graduates, only 25% of women who have graduated college have a paid job in the formal economy (2).

Political representation

Despite the poor economic position of women, Mexico is ranked fifth in regards to the representation of women in parliament (2). Women also make up 48.2% of members of the lower house (2). However, despite these positive achievements, Mexico still has a long way to go. Throughout all of Mexico’s history, there have been only 6 female governors (3) and in 2015, only 2 out of the 11 ministers in the supreme court were women (3) and only 25% of local chamber deputies were women (3). Also, just 20% of federal judge and magistrate positions are held by women and women accounted for only 7% of all mayors (3).


Around 2 million people in Mexico pay for private healthcare and the same number of households spend a third of their income on medical costs (4). In 2019, there were 2.4 doctors and 2.9 nurses per 1000 people and 1 hospital bed for every 1000 women (6). In the same year, there were 366 deaths caused by avoidable mortality (6). In low income households, less than 10% of women deliver babies in hospital whereas in higher income households, this figure is 80% (4). Infant mortality in low income neighbourhoods is high at 100 per every 1000 live births (4). All girls have had access to the HPV vaccine since 2008 (5). In 2012, 48.5% of women aged 25 to 64 were screened for cervical cancer (5)

Gender-Based Violence

In Mexico, 10 women are killed every day due to gender-based violence (1). Femicide has risen greatly in the past decade, with rates doubling since 2007 (5). In the first three months of 2020 alone, over 900 women were murdered (2). In 2020, millions of women participated in a 24 hour strike to protest gender-based violence (5), however rates are still high. 23% of women report having experienced sexual violence in the last 12 months, however 70% of women report having experienced some form of violence at least once in their lives (1). Furthermore, 52% of women report having been psychologically abused (1).

Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year

Women experiencing Physical and/or Sexual Intimate Partner Violence in their lifetime: 24.6%

Women experiencing physical and/or Sexual Intimate Partner Violence in the last 12 months: 95% (7)

Government figures released in November 2019, showed murders of women increased more than 10% in the previous year, with 809 women killed between January and October 2019 specifically because of their gender, compared with 726 in the same period of 2018. A 2017 report by the National Institute for Statistics and Geography found about 66% of women over 15 in Mexico had experienced some form of violence at least once and 44% had been abused by a partner. Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said on Monday almost 125,000 women had been victims of violence in Mexico in 2019 (8).

According to a gender violence study from 2016, the region holds 14 of the 25 countries with the highest rates of femicides (Small arms survey, 2016) (9).

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

Domestic abuse is expected to grow by 92% during the quarantine period (9).

Prior to the beginning of the social distancing measures, the 911 emergency number registered 21,727 violence against women related calls for the month of February 2020. Just three weeks after the social distancing measures were announced, federal authorities estimated that violence against women had increased between 30% to 100%. Within this context, domestic violence demonstrated to be one of the most concerning matters of COVID-19. Almost two months after the registration of the first COVID-19 case in Mexico, the Shelter Network observed an increase of 5% in women’s admissions and 60% in guidance via telephone, social networks, or email. Additionally, centres linked to the RNR are at 80% or 110% of their capacity, especially in entities such as Guanajuato, the State of Mexico, and Chiapas (9).

Current law and policy:

Mexico commits to launch campaigns, strengthen investigation of crimes of violence against women, and provide comprehensive services The Government of Mexico commits to review and consolidate the comprehensive programme for the prevention, punishment and elimination of violence against women, while giving a voice to civil society and different sectors. Specifically, the Government pledges to: launch permanent campaigns, by means of billboards, travelling expositions, plaques, posters, leaflets and other means of communication; Action Protocols for the Investigation of Crimes Against Women; set up Justice Centres for Women, as a space where different government bodies are represented with the aim of providing comprehensive services (social, educational, health, labour, legal, psychological, immigration, among others) to women in situations of violence; and to guarantee allocation of budget with a gender perspective, so as to ensure a life free of violence for women.

In Mexico, a country with over 120 million people, the current Covid-19 pandemic will transversally impact a series of social issues, of which gender-based violence is one of the most salient concerns.





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