Dept. of Labor to award $10 million to advance 'gender proportionality' in Mexican workplace

In justifying its expenditure of U.S taxpayer dollars on the grant, the DOL cites Mexico's reported gender pay gap.

Published: August 27, 2021 5:46pm

Updated: August 28, 2021 10:59pm

This week's Golden Horseshoe is awarded to the Department of Labor for a $10 million grant to promote "gender equity" in the workplace ... in Mexico.

In its grant notice, the DOL's Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) announces that the goal of the project is to "improve gender equity in the Mexican workplace by supporting actions to increase the number of women in union leadership, strengthen protections, address harassment at work and augment wages for women."

For the purposes of the grant, gender equity "refers to the fairness in the treatment of women and men" the synopsis notes.

In practical terms, however, the agency defines equity and fairness as statistical parity (otherwise known as quotas) in the workplace, as it explains in specifying its "Outcome 1," the first of the two concrete outcomes the project aims to achieve:

"Worker organizations advance issues surrounding gender equity, including gender proportionality in leadership and participation in key activities, within their institutions."

The $10 million grant will be for a maximum of 4 and a half years, and the closing date for applications is Sept. 25. 

Strategies for advancing equity recommended in the grant summary include: establishing a union committee for equality; creating a plan for a union to comply with labor law gender provisions, including "voting protocols"; and "institutionalizing democratic concepts and best practices in union administration."

In its background justification for the project, DOL cites a finding by the 38-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that Mexico is "the fifth-worst member country in terms of its pay gap." It also cites a claim by Mexico's Institute of Competitiveness that "a Mexican woman earns 85 pesos for every 100 pesos a man earns, creating a 15% pay gap." 

Mexico's "workplace violence and harassment" against women "are also a serious concern," says the DOL.

ILAB says its "mission is to promote a fair global playing field for workers in the United States and around the world by enforcing trade commitments, strengthening labor standards, and combating international child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking."

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