Mexico

Population: 
123,799,215
Number of Business Networks: 7
Number of Private Sector Initiatives: 12
Number of Government Services: 9
Labor Force Participation Rate: 
48

Introduction

Although economic opportunity for women in Mexico has long lagged behind that of the economy’s men, Mexico has seen considerable progress in recent years. Today, men and women share similar educational opportunities and they graduate from secondary school and university at approximately the same rates. More...

Although economic opportunity for women in Mexico has long lagged behind that of the economy’s men, Mexico has seen considerable progress in recent years. Today, men and women share similar educational opportunities and they graduate from secondary school and university at approximately the same rates. The number of women working outside the home has more than doubled since 1985, according to a 2014 economy overview by the Catalyst organization, and the number of dual-income households is also increasing. Since 2006, Mexico has improved its scores and rankings in the annual World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report, which compares conditions faced by men and women in over 140 economies. The narrowing of gender gaps in the economy is significantly attributable to an increase in female professional and technical workers, as well as increased representation of women in Congress.

Still, as of 2014, just 45 percent of women over age 15 were in the workforce, compared with 80 percent  of men. Men’s salaries remain significantly higher than those earned by women. As in many economies, traditional gender roles and cultural norms pose challenges to women’s economic participation in Mexico. Women are expected to be the primary caregivers as well as maintain the household. These norms are reinforced by a general lack of national initiatives that focus on diminishing household responsibilities for women—such as through increased access to childcare—or on encouraging men to share these responsibilities. In 2012, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report said that childcare services are especially limited in Mexico, thus making it difficult for two parents to work outside the home.

Family is considered to be the center of life in Mexico. This often poses a challenge for women who want to balance work and family. Women often face pressure to abandon their education or professional development in favor of staying at home to raise their children full-time. Furthermore, husbands of working women often are harassed by other men for “allow[ing] their wives to work”. In addition to looking after children, women assume the vast majority of housework and elder care. Seventy-percent of senior business leaders interviewed for the 2014 Catalyst report agreed that “work-life balance is a key challenge for women professionals in Mexico.” Furthermore, leadership positions in the workplace typically require “male hours” (horarios masculinos)—that is, long hours in the office that are not necessarily productive, but demonstrate one’s dedication to the job. At the same time, the value associated with working women is diminished when they must leave the office on time and return to their responsibilities at home. Women occupy just over 15 percent  of top management positions, according to a 2010 World Bank Enterprise Survey of nearly 1,500 formally established businesses.

 

Mexican women who aspire to start their own enterprises face additional challenges. Just one out of four firms in Mexico has female participation in ownership, according to the World Bank. Also, women’s enterprises tend to be smaller and grow more slowly than those founded by men. One major challenge that women face in starting and growing their businesses is access to loans: women are often viewed as unreliable borrowers. In 2012, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report found that, “In Mexico, financial institutions do not typically give credit to women on their own but require husbands or fathers to cosign loan applications.”

 

On the other hand, in 2014, the Gender Global Entrepreneurship Development Index (Gender GEDI) ranked Mexico 10th out of 30 world economies it reviewed for conditions that foster high-potential female entrepreneurship development. The survey looked at such factors as access to resources, gender-influenced public policies, the effect monopolies have on new businesses trying to enter the market, and opportunities in technology. Moreover, although just 6 percent of corporate board seats in Mexico are held by women, this figure is in fact the second highest in Latin America, according to a 2013 report by Paul Hastings.

 

Notwithstanding the obstacles to women, it is evident that Mexico offers some best practices for the development of women entrepreneurs. The economy offers a range of local business networks and associations, as well as a compelling set of private-sector initiatives and expansive and innovative government programs. 

Though there are ample business networks across Mexico’s private sector, these networks generally exclude women. A study by Value for Women, Banorte Foundation and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs found that the networks don’t always explicitly exclude women; they simply do not take into account women’s schedules and needs, therefore eliminating their ability to participate. The study found that “the fact that women’s time is still largely dedicated to family” outside of standard working hours leaves them with little time for networking.” Furthermore, many networking events take place over “happy hour.” Women are excluded from these not because they are not allowed to attend, but simply because they are expected to be elsewhere at that time—at home, taking care of household duties and their children.

Despite cultural challenges, many women have found a way to participate in business networks. Some networks, such as Pro Mujer, are established internationally, while others started in one province of Mexico and rapidly grew to include women of several provinces. In any case, it seems as though the networks take into account the needs of women, assisting with specific business skills they need to develop and even building on “housework” skills to help them run their businesses.

Networks that support women’s access to capital and assets: 

No information available. Contact us if you know of a network that fits this criteria.

Networks that support women’s access to markets: 

The Asociación Mexicana de Mujeres Empresarias (Mexican Association of Business Women), established in 1965, seeks to unify businesswomen and entrepreneurs, increase their opportunities, and in turn generate jobs,...more

Networks that support strengthened capacity and skills for women in business: 

(Commission of Business Women of COPARMEX). Housed in the Employers of the Mexican Republic (COPARMEX) Confederation, the Commission of Business Women implements programs that spur the development of female-run businesses, focusing in particular on social development...more

(CREA) is an organization established in 2008 that aims to generate employment opportunities for women and strengthen women-owned businesses in Mexico. CREA provides training and advice on financial services, product distribution, and additional tools with the goals of...more

Networks that support women’s leadership, voice and agency: 

(Network of Support for Women Municipal Leaders). REAMM was created in 2009, after a meeting where municipal women requested support to increase their skills in order to compete with men for elected positions. An outcome of the meeting was the need to empower women...more

(SEEDS) “works with groups and women leaders in the common goal of improving the status of women in Mexico.” Semillas describes itself as the only women's fund in Mexico and says it works with women who seek to change the inequality faced by women.” The group focuses on...more

Networks that support women and innovation and technology: 

(Digital Mom). Mama Digital focuses on the importance of ICT education in women’s economic participation and productivity. More broadly, the group contributes to social development by addressing the digital divide between men and women in Mexico. Founded in 2011, the...more

A platform for women entrepreneurs in Mexico, Mujer Emprende builds the skills of female entrepreneurs through technology and innovation. The group holds online startup and business accelerator training and offers a leadership development program for high-level women and...more

There is a large emphasis in Mexico on private-sector initiatives that underscore the importance of entrepreneurship. Many programs are geared toward funding women who want to start their own businesses. A major theme of the existing private sector initiatives is competition—encouraging women to compete and funding only the best and most innovative ideas. With such an emphasis on financing, it seems that banks could play a larger role in this space. Because the paperwork requirements make it difficult for women to obtain loans through government programs, banks can serve as an alternative.

 

A study done by Value for Women, Banorte Foundation and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs suggests that banks should increase the credit and funding options for women-owned businesses and female entrepreneurs. Additionally, women face challenges in opening their own credit cards, which limit them financially. The Value for Women study suggests that banks could “develop a more accessible credit card, but tailored to WSGBs [women-led small and growing businesses], and market this as an option for certain phases of business growth.” By expanding financing options for women, banks could assist more women in starting and running their businesses. 

Initiatives that support women’s access to capital and assets: 

The 5by20 program represents a “global commitment to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020.” 5by20 assists in building women’s business skills through training that focus on preparation for entering the...more

An online platform established to garner financing for businesses, CrowdfunderMexico first held an CrowdfundX event in Mexico in March 2014 to support women’s entrepreneurship, in partnership with the Women’s Council of Mexico and MUSEIC. ...more

The Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders (GWEL) Scorecard, sponsored by Dell Inc. and produced by ACG Inc., is a new data driven diagnostic tool that identifies the impediments to high impact female entrepreneurship and introduces actionable steps that can be taken to...more

PitchBull is a peer-to-peer platform that showcases businesses that seek funding. PitchBull provides the opportunity for business owners to showcase their business to attract investors. WisdomCave is PitchBull's platform to create, produce, publish, and disseminate...more

Established in Mexico in 2001, the NGO Pro Mujer provides women in Latin America with the resources needed to develop livelihoods for themselves and their “families through financial services, business and empowerment training, and health care support.” Pro Mujer focuses...more

Tu Reto Emprendedor is an online community that provides financial resources and knowledge to women interested in starting or developing their own businesses in Mexico. The initiative was established by Pronea Lab, SA de CV, a private communication, technology, and...more

Initiatives that support women’s access to markets: 

The Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders (GWEL) Scorecard, sponsored by Dell Inc. and produced by ACG Inc., is a new data driven diagnostic tool that identifies the impediments to high impact female entrepreneurship and introduces actionable steps that can be taken to...more

Supported by the Walmart Foundation, Walmart’s Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative aims to empower women through job training and education, create career opportunities, and boost market access for women business owners. Through the initiative, Walmart intends...more

WEConnect International in Mexico identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women's business enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women. WEConnect International is the only non-profit connecting women-owned businesses with...more

Initiatives that support strengthened capacity and skills for women in business: 

In April 2012, in cooperation with Pro Mujer, the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth supplied a grant of $125,000 to support a community center in Milpa Alta, Mexico City. The center now assists women in establishing and growing their businesses, and in turn helps...more

A nonprofit organization started after Mexico’s 1995 economic collapse, Pro-Empleo trains micro and small entrepreneurs in trades and business skills. The group’s goal is to increase employment in Mexico. Originally targeted at the unemployed and low-skilled, in 2004 Pro...more

Victoria147 is a nonprofit organization that calls itself an “acceleration platform”— it supports women who have a business idea but do not know how to start a business or who want to take their existing business...more

WEConnect International in Mexico identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women's business enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women. WEConnect International is the only non-profit connecting women-owned businesses with...more

Initiatives that support women’s leadership, voice and agency: 

The Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders (GWEL) Scorecard, sponsored by Dell Inc. and produced by ACG Inc., is a new data driven diagnostic tool that identifies the impediments to high impact female entrepreneurship and introduces actionable steps that can be taken to...more

Initiatives that support women and innovation and technology: 

Mexico’s government has shown commitment to women across several different agencies. The Ministry of Economy, National Council for Science and Technology, and the National Institute for Women have programs dedicated to women in business. The National Institute for Women (INMUJERES) is the main government agency working to end discrimination against women, allow women to fully exercise their rights, institutionalize gender across government agencies, and provide women with equal opportunities and participation in politics, culture, and the economy. INMUJERES promotes equal opportunity throughout all government agencies, affecting all facets of society.

 

Even though government-provided services for women have grown, some services are not fully accessible. Women are not fully aware of the existing programs and services. A study done by Value for Women, Banorte Foundation and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs found that women entrepreneurs do not view the government as a main source of services or funding. Only 14 percent of participants were aware of or availed themselves of funding opportunities through the Ministry of Economy. Additionally, respondents said that many loan programs discount women and the application process is overly complex, discouraging all applicants. All entrepreneurs, including women, could more easily take advantage of government-provided services if the programs were to execute awareness and communication strategies and campaigns as well as simplify the application processes. 

Services that support women’s access to capital and assets: 

Based in the Ministry of Economy, FOMMUR promotes access to capital and financial services for low-income women entrepreneurs living in rural areas of Mexico. The nationwide program advocates for the growth of microfinance services and microloans throughout the economy,...more

Founded in 1934, Nafinsa is the leading development bank in Mexico. It is owned by the Mexican government and is based in Mexico City. Nafinsa provides financial services to...more

The federal agency SAGARPA promotes the sustainable development rural areas of Mexico and balanced growth between Mexico’s different regions.  SAGARPA aims to educate people in rural areas on how to utilize financial services. In the report entitled...more

Services that support women’s access to markets: 

Housed in Mexico’s National Institute of Social Economy (INAES), the federal agency FONAES has 824 employees. It provides financial advice and training as well as microfinance programs. In 2009, some 80 percent of the agency’s small loans were given to women. More...more

Services that support strengthened capacity and skills for women in business: 

(National Institute of the Entrepreneur) (INADEM). An administrative body within the Ministry of Economy, INADEM was established in January 2013 to promote and develop entrepreneurship in Mexico. INADEM also implements national entrepreneurship policies that benefit...more

(Women Moving Mexico). Launched in 2014, Mujeres Moviendo México is a partnership between the National Institute of Entrepreneurship (INADEM) and Create Communities of Social Entrepreneurs, AC. The group is supported by the National Institute for Women, the states of...more

Services that support women’s leadership, voice and agency: 

Established in 2001, IMMUJERES is a federal institution that strives for a culture of equality in Mexico. INMUJERES works to end violence and discrimination against women, allow women to fully exercise their rights, ensure gender equality throughout all government...more

Housed within the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous People (CDI), PROIN was established in 2014 to improve the income of the indigenous population of Mexico through capacity-building projects, with a focus on...more

Services that support women and innovation and technology: 

(National Council for Science and Technology) (CONACYT). Established in 1970, the federal agency CONACYT creates and implements science and technology policies in Mexico. Two of the Council’s main goals are (1) improving scientific and technological capacity; and (2)...more