From Polar Winds to Tropical Breezes
Chapter 9: Successful Professional Women in Mexico
Miguel R. Olivas-Luján and Leticia Ramos Garza Malinche, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, Frida Kahlo, Martha Sahagún de Fox: these are the names of a few of the most revered and simultaneously criticized Mexican women (see Table 9.1). From pre-colonial times to the twenty-ﬁrst century, working women in Mexico have played a central, if mostly veiled role in all facets of society. Within this machista society – borrowing a characterization from Mexican Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz (Gutmann, 2001), Mexican women have seen their participation in the workforce improve rapidly in the past 20 to 30 years but, as in many other countries, they still are a long way from reaching parity in most areas. This chapter is structured as follows: the next section describes how Mexico’s long tradition of endorsing international initiatives has gradually increased governmental support for women’s issues, although they have not been readily translated into more equitable business practices. Following that, we present an assortment of statistics that describe women’s role in the Mexican workforce and factors that have been found to aﬀect it more strongly from a macroeconomic standpoint, including education, fertility rates, civil – including maternity – status and economic need. The section after that presents the results of our empirical study, with details from both quantitative and qualitative components. Finally, we conclude the chapter with some thoughts on how important it is that more attention be given to ensuring an even playing ﬁeld for women...
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