EQUAL - Equal Access to Quality Jobs for Women and Girls in Mexico
In support of Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP), focusing on women and adolescent girls, EQUAL will increase job quality and safety, create opportunities for economic participation, and address gaps in social programs to reach remote and impoverished families in Mexico.
Mexico is the United States’ second-largest regional export market and third-largest trading partner (after Canada and China). According to the World Bank, Mexico is a middle-income country on a growth trajectory. However, the prevalence of unpaid work among women, horizontal and vertical segmentation of the labor market, and gender segregation are barriers to full inclusion of women in the labor market and access to decent working conditions. There is limited government enforcement of laws on child labor, gender-based discrimination, and working conditions in the agricultural sector, including in the sugarcane and coffee sectors. Furthermore, as the majority of the agricultural work is informal (contractual or seasonal), workers often have poor access to governmental or private sector protections and grievance mechanisms, social safety net programs, opportunities for up-skilling, and vocational advancement on the job. Migrant workers are particularly impacted by these conditions. There are reports of discrimination and exploitation of women and girls in the agricultural sector such as gender pay gaps, sexual harassment, discrimination in training and job hiring, and access to resources, including extension services, agricultural inputs, credit, and land ownership.
The goal of the EQUAL project is to reduce the risk of child labor, forced labor, and other labor rights violations for women and adolescent girls (aged 15-17) working within the agricultural sector. The project’s core strategies will:
- Focus on the most vulnerable- EQUAL aims to create a scalable model of service delivery that reaches the most vulnerable, specifically women and girls in remote communities who work in the sugarcane and coffee sectors in Veracruz and Oaxaca, especially in informal arrangements.
- Engage men and boys in the solution – EQUAL will further gender equality by engaging men and boys in women’s empowerment programming. The project will deliver communications targeted at men and boys and provide training that will increase their understanding of gender equality and enable them to support women and girls at the household and community levels. Through EQUAL, men and boys will be made more aware of gender-based discrimination, violence against women, and labor rights violations that affect women and girls. They will be encouraged to support greater involvement of women and adolescent girls in decision-making about household economic priorities and life decisions, such as participating in governments social protection programs.
- Engage the private sector – EQUAL will provide technical assistance and coaching to private sector stakeholders in Veracruz and Oaxaca to improve their ability to comply with labor rights, in coordination with the public sector.
- Create multiple “tracks” to economic empowerment for women and girls – The project will create multiple tracks to economic empowerment for women and girls—including through education, employment, and entrepreneurship.
- Communicate with multiple audiences to promote dialogue and raise awareness.