“The main reason why women stop working when they have children is because of the low confidence in childcare, in fact, more than a third of women leave their jobs for this reason”, denounced Gabriela Inchauste, a leading economist of the World Bank when presenting a few weeks ago the study “The labor participation of women in Mexico”, which highlights the challenges for working mothers.
According to the World Bank, Mexico must strengthen the minimum quality standards in child care services. Currently, Mexican women dedicate more than twice as much time to domestic activities and care as men, according to time-use surveys (EUT).
As a result of the pandemic, this difference has worsened, consequently, women have been forced to leave their jobs due to the closure of schools. The impact is strong, 1.7 million women stopped working during 2020 according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).
Women’s labor force participation in Mexico was just 45% in 2019, compared to 77% for men, a gap of 32 percent. This indicates that, in Mexico, only 4 out of 10 women work while 7 out of 10 men have a job, and being mothers is usually a decisive factor.
The World Bank estimates that if women participated at the same rate as men, per capita income would be 22% higher.
“The lack of job opportunities, for example, there are still labor regulations where employers ask about the family situation of a woman before hiring her,” says Inchauste.
Without a network of care
The main barrier for mothers to be able to reintegrate (or integrate for the first time, if they are adolescents) to the labor market is the lack of a network of care services.
The World Bank details that the institutional offer of child care services has limited coverage, is fragmented and heterogeneous, with the presence of multiple providers with very different delivery modalities.
“The coverage of child care services is limited, with territorial heterogeneity (better availability in areas with greater economic activity) and is predominantly provided by the private sector,” the study indicates.
The child care system for working mothers has inefficiencies; The international organization denounces that the lack of recognition of the right to care and discrimination based on gender and marital status generate exclusions and deepen the inequality of opportunities, in addition to inconsistencies or contradictory regulations at different levels of legislation.
Another influencing factor is that women become mothers at a very early age in the country. The World Bank recommends expanding and ensuring access to sexual and reproductive care centers for adolescents and enhancing the socio-emotional development and technical skills of young people, technical and professional orientation, and their training.
“Adolescent pregnancy and motherhood can prevent women from having full human development and economic opportunities in the labor market,” adds Gabriela Inchauste.
According to INEGI, during 2020, more than 23.5 million Mexican women reported not being available to work due to meeting other obligations, representing an increase of 1.4 million women compared to what was observed in 2019.
Source: Forbes Mexico