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Breaking Barriers for Women in Corporate Mexico? (Not So Fast)

NEW YORK (July 28, 2014)—Women are entering Mexico’s workforce in increasing numbers, but female labor force participation is still lower than in nearly all other emerging markets. Why? Cultural and organizational barriers are stifling women’s progress, says a new report by Catalyst, the leading nonprofit research organization with a mission to expand opportunities for women and business globally.

“Forty-five percent of women in Mexico work outside the home, but they’re also expected to shoulder family and caregiving demands—and workplace policies have not caught up to this reality,” says Rima K. Matsumoto, Vice President, Market Development, Catalyst, who is leading Catalyst’s entry into Mexico and other global markets. “Organizations in Mexico have a real opportunity to create better career development and work-life initiatives to help them attract, support and retain talented women and men, and in the process, become more competitive in the global marketplace.”

Based on data from 29 Mexico-headquartered companies and Mexico subsidiaries across 12 industries, and insights from men and women business leaders and experts, Corporate Landscape in Mexico: Understanding Approaches to Talent Management and Women’s Inclusion pinpoints challenges and offers solutions for advancing more women in the workplace.

Key Findings:

The Leadership Gap: Societal and cultural factors and gaps in organizational talent development strategies lead to inequality in Mexico’s workplace.

  • Executive Officers

    • 10% women

    • 90% men

  • Senior Managers

    • 20% women

    • 80% men

  • Managers/Directors

    • 24% women

    • 76% men

  • Pipeline (Entry to Manager/Director)

    • 27% women

    • 73% men

Family Values and Work-Life Demands: Women in Mexico are still expected to be primary caregivers, even if it means sacrificing their careers.

  • 70% of interviewees said work-life balance is a key challenge. Yet only…..

  • 24% of companies offer referral/support for childcare.

  • 21% of companies offer on-site or near site childcare.

  • 7% offered elder-care referral/support programs.

What Companies Can Do: Businesses in Mexico can benefit from utilizing the full power of women’s talent and taking active steps toward supporting women’s advancement in the workforce.

  • Provide comprehensive work-life effectiveness programs (with leave of absence policies, flexible work schedules, and childcare and eldercare support), as well as targeted networks that support employees who use these programs.

  • Engage men in advocating for women and implementing policies that support women’s careers and work-life challenges.

  • Set measureable targets for advancing women, and hold senior leaders accountable for meeting them.

  • 7% offered elder-care referral/support programs

Interviews available.

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ABOUT CATALYST
Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit organization expanding opportunities for women and business. With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, India, Australia, and Japan, and more than 700 members, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information, and advice about women at work. Catalyst annually honors exemplary organizational initiatives that promote women's advancement with the Catalyst Award.

Catalyst thanks Scotiabank for its generous financial support in enabling the acceleration of Catalyst’s mission impact in Mexico, one of the most vital economies in the world.