Knowledge Center

Women in the Workforce: Mexico


Mexico Is the Most Populated Spanish-Speaking Country1

Mexico’s total population is 121,736,809, which makes it the twelfth most populous country in the world, following China, India, and the United States,2

  • Mexico is the second most populous country in Latin America following Brazil.3

Today, Mexico's population skews young: the median age is 27.4 years old, with over 65% of the population between 15 and 64 years old.4

  • 28% of the population is under the age of 15 years old.5

Mexico's Population Is Aging

Mexico's birth rate is just above replacement level at 2.36 births per woman.7

  • Almost 20% of the population is expected to be elderly (aged 65 and over) by 2050, compared to just 6.7% of the population today.8

Labor Force

Increasing Numbers of Women Are Entering the Workforce9

In 2014, 62% of the population aged 15 years and older participated in the labor force.10

  • 45% of women were in the labor force compared to 80% of men.11

The country’s informal economy employs over one-third of the entire workforce.12

  • Women represent 40% of those employed in the non-agricultural labor force.13
  • In 2020, women are projected to be 38% of the total labor force (22,704,200).14


Women Have a Low Participation Rate in Leadership Roles

Of listed companies, women make up 7% of board seats.15

15% of firms have women in top management roles.16

  • Of high potentials surveyed, women are more likely to work in a global firm, whereas men are more likely to work in a nonglobal firm.17

  • Women represent 23% of senior-management positions.18

Women earn only 60% of men's salaries.19


Quotas and Laws Are Helping Women Close the Gender Gap in Politics20

42% of parliament seats in Mexico's National Congress and 18% of ministerial positions  are held by women.21

  • In the last 50 years, no woman has been head of state.22


Education Is a Very Important Factor Influencing Mobility in Mexico23

53% of Mexico's 15–19-year-olds are enrolled in schools (one of the lowest percentages among OECD Nations), despite the country’s having the largest population of this age group in its history.  24


18% of 25–64-year-olds have earned a tertiary degree.25 

  • Almost one-quarter (24%) of 24–34-year-olds earned tertiary degrees.26 

  • 29% of women and 31% of men are enrolled in tertiary education.27

In 2012 the percentage of women graduates in specific undergraduate degree programs included: 28

  • 11.2%  in engineering, construction, manufacturing

  • 4.9% in sciences

  • 49.6% in social sciences, business, and law


Additional Resources


Anna Beninger, Today’s Mexican High Potentials at Work (Catalyst, 2015).

Catalyst, First Step: Mexico (2014).

Alixandra Pollack, Dnika J. Travis, and Erica L. Lizano,  Corporate Landscape in Mexico: Understanding Approaches to Talent Management and Women’s Inclusion (Catalyst, 2014).

"Closing Mexico's Gender Gap." YouTube video, 2:06, posted by World Economic Forum, April 17, 2012. 

Manuela Artigas, Maria Novales-Flamarique, and Heloisa Callegaro, Women Matter: A Latin America Perspective (McKinsey&Company, Women Matter Latin America, May 2013).


How to cite this product: Catalyst. Quick Take: Women in Mexico. New York: Catalyst, March, 2016.