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Women in Mexico continue to face challenges in the business world

Since 2018, McKinsey & Company have been creating a report on Mexican women in the workforce, and the inequality they face.

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McKinsey & Company have released a new report titled Women Matter México 2022: Uneven Parity detailing the current gender disparity and how the pandemic has affected Mexican women in the business world. This study compares their findings from this year with a previous report they published in 2018, examining what has and hasn’t changed for women since 2017.

This study includes the responses from 130 companies and their Latin American subsidiaries, both employing over 1 million people and representing various sectors of the economy – retail, professional, industrial, and financial services for example – generating sales equivalent to 35% of Mexico’s GDP.

The report additionally surveyed responses from an estimated 55,000 employees from these companies, respondents ranging across the business hierarchy.

The findings paint a bleak picture of the future of women’s parity in business, with the current rates of women making it to senior positions rising so slowly that equal representation would only be achieved in 100 years.

Socially, there is a stigma against women in the workplace, McKinsey citing a recent report by the World Values Survey finding that in Mexico, one in five people believe it is more important for a man to have a degree than a woman. In addition, the percentage of people who believe that a man should have priority over a woman for a job rose from 17% to 25% since 2012.

This is coupled with evidence showing that women at the executive level are routinely underpaid 17% less than their male counterparts, the gap between the two closing only by 3% since 2017.

With barriers like these, it begins to become clear why women in Mexico’s workforce only increased by three percent, rising from 35% to 38%.

The report however, has identified key metrics that define a company’s parity, acting both as a tool of measurement between companies with the lowest parity and the highest parity. 

Named CLIMB, it measures five areas: a company’s commitment to gender parity, its leadership development, its organizational infrastructure, the monitoring and transparency of parity indicators, and corporate behaviors and mindsets towards equality in the workplace.

Through this framework, it was possible to identify what the top performers were doing that the lower performers were not, creating a list of 17 key initiatives to ensure equal representation of women in the workforce.

Of the initiatives, the last two metrics – monitoring of parity indicators and corporate behaviors/mindsets – were unable to be differentiated from high performers and low performers. This was because these kinds of initiatives existed broadly across companies, a testament to the change occurring across these industries.

These 17 initiatives are:

  • A company diversity committee
  • Clear quantitative objectives for gender representation
  • To take into account compliance with the evaluation of managers
  • Rewarding leaders who meet objectives
  • Communicate the company's commitment to gender diversity externally
  • Have a gender diversity objective in the recruiting process
  • Require at least one female candidate for externally advertised positions
  • Establish a formal process for retaining high-performing female executives
  • A women’s mentoring program
  • A women’s sponsorship program
  • The ability to work from home
  • No after-hours meetings
  • Childcare allowance or on-site daycare
  • Extended maternity leave
  • Extended paternity leave
  • Evaluation tools to provide objective information on employee performance
  • Evaluation processes tailored to flexibility alternatives

One industry company’s chief human resources officer spoke about their efforts to create gender parity. 

“The most effective way to build gender parity is to consolidate rules when it comes to internal promotions. In our company, we emphasize having short lists of candidates with at least one woman,” they said. 

“When there is no woman on our team who competes on an equal footing with the rest of the participants, we go out and look for one. We don’t just want paper representation; we want viable women who have the experience to compete for the position,” they continued.

While awareness may have steadily increased over time, this has not translated into more opportunities and less barriers for women in Mexico. 

By gathering this information, McKinsey & Company seeks to spread awareness of these initiatives and push accepting the responsibility to remove barriers for women in the workplace and close the gender gap.

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