Knowledge Center

Women in the Workforce: Mexico

Labor Force

Women’s Participation in the Labor Force Continues to Lag Behind Men’s and the Global Average1

In 2017, 44.1% of women were in the labor force, compared to 79.0% of men.2

  • In the same year, women’s share of the total labor force was 36.5%.3

The increase in the number of women in the labor force is expected to be slow. In 2030, women's share of the labor force is projected to be 37.6%.4

Women Are More Heavily Engaged in the Informal Economy and Unpaid Work

More than half the population is engaged in the informal economy, with women (58.8%) more likely than men (50.1%) to hold informal jobs.5

Women perform more than 75% of duties such as unpaid housework and childcare.6


Women's Representation in Senior Roles Has Improved for Three Years in a Row7

Women held 34% of senior positions in 2018.8

  • 75% of companies had at least one woman in senior management.9
However, Few Women Hold Board Seats

Women held only 5.7% positions on major corporate boards in 2015, below the 14.7% global average.10

Women Have Made Significant Strides in Politics

Women will constitute 49% of the lower house and 51% of the senate when the congress is seated in December 2018.11

  • Mexico will be ranked fourth globally for representation of women in legislature.12
  • Women will make up 50% of most state legislatures.13

Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo was elected as the mayor of Mexico City, which is one of the country’s most important political positions.14


More Women Graduate With Post-Secondary Degrees Than Men

Women are 50% of first-time entrants into tertiary education and 53% of graduates.15

Women Are Making Some Advances in STEM Education

Women in Mexico are more likely than the average OECD country to focus their studies on  engineering, manufacturing, and construction (11% women in Mexico vs. 6% OECD average).16

Pay Gap

Women Experience a Gender Pay Gap, Especially if They Have Tertiary Degrees

Overall, women are paid 16.7% less than men, based on median, full-time earnings—slightly more than the OECD average of 14.3%.17

Tertiary-educated women who work full time are paid 66% of men's earnings, 8% lower than the OECD average.18

Additional Resources

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

Anna Beninger, Today’s Mexican High Potentials at Work (Catalyst, 2014).

Área de Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos, Shadow Report on Employment Discrimination Against Women in Mexico (June 2018).

OECD, Building an Inclusive Mexico: Policies and Good Governance for Gender Equality (2017).


How to cite this product: Catalyst, Quick Take: Women in the Workforce: Mexico (January 14, 2019).