Gender Issues in Latin American Economic Development Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Latin Gender

Gender Issues in Latin

American Economic Development

This essay attempts to present all new insight into the topic of gender concerns in regard to the Latin American nation of Mexico's economic development. The report is written with the notion that I have just been appointed as Minister of Gender Affairs for Mexico and our new President, who is a woman, ran on a platform that promised gender equality in all new and existing policies within her administration. As Minister of Gender Affairs in Mexico, the president has requested that I develop a new national plan that both addresses and ends the rampant discrimination against females in Mexico and in turn creates new generous gender equality policies. The essay will address: Family Legislation, Labor Market Legislation, Trade Policies, Educational Policies and Agrarian Legislation.

As the world continues to become a smaller place through the use of new technologies like the Internet and the business community continues to face the intrinsic challenges caused by the highly competitive global economy, Mexico's labor markets continue to tighten. As the Minister of Gender Affairs for Mexico, I will address the twenty-first century concerns with the Minister of Labor by having our industries hire more women than at any other point in our nation's history. Once hired, these female workers will discover that the policies that we will institute will remove the existing discriminatory barriers blocking their career paths through obvious glass ceilings. Basically, the existing policies that promote gender discrimination in the work place mean that far too often our qualified females are stopped from moving into positions of leadership within their organization.

In other words, the female workforce today is forced to take jobs that were established that knowingly stop the possibility of future promotions to the next job level of leadership. This issue is at the forefront of the male machismo oriented legislation policies our nation has to address in order to contend with as the force of globalization demands a more diverse and capable labor force. Although the nation of Mexico has made tremendous strides towards gender discrimination by electing into office the nation's first female President, our nation will have to continue to address all sources of gender discrimination including the educational stream, the agrarian workforce, and new technology opportunities.

As Minister of Gender Affairs for Mexico, I will implement sound processes that will assist our labor industry in gathering the necessary data that will help us avoid problems associated with the practice of bypassing qualified female applicants in all of our industries. Human Resource departments throughout Mexico will benefit greatly when they begin to implement our statistical methodologies that show that a strong and diverse Mexican labor force will make our nation a force to contend with in this new global economy.

Our first priority is the rural community and the agrarian workforce. Today a married woman for example can not be an ejido member. Historically, after decades of agrarian reforms, we still therefore have women forming only a small portion of the ejido members. We ill have to address old policies. "Past political changes include the 1927 revision of Article 27 of the Constitution for example where it is clearly specified that ejido members should be males or single women or widows supporting a family." (Deere and Leon). This precedent that a woman can only work if she is the sole bread winner for her family drives many agrarian polices to this day. We will change the policies through legislative procedure to give all women the right to work in our fields that they forfeited by marrying which made them ejidatarios.

The Family legislation, such as marital and inheritance regimes and the basic family codes all must be addressed next if we intend to make gender discrimination a thing of the past. Although we have a female President and a supportive Minister of Gender Affairs, the overall government is not as supportive. I am consistently asked by our legislators why I think we need a feminist discourse. They tell me that it would not be the Mexican or the Latino way while they assure me that they respect women such as their mother or spouse. There are deep rooted prejudices and defensive attitudes in our government and in our culture. The existing marital and inheritance laws are the foundation and that is where we must be gin to adjust our views. The objective is not just to promote women's rights but to remodel and also to create an all new type of a society. "However, sharp contrasts between the gendered provisions of agrarian codes and women's actual ownership and control of land have been observed throughout Latin America. (Deere and Leon) Through new legislation we will provide the female gender with new found power. With that being said, this new approach will address issues such as violence against women in family settings. Nation's like ours have had rampant violence against the female gender because we have for so long been a male dominated culture that has sanctioned male dominant ideologies. These new foundation cutting legislative assaults will cut into the structure of our society and force us to live by new cultural practices of gender equality.

As a nation we have been disillusioned by the lack of advancement by women in our political, economic, social and cultural fronts. But land ownership is the real concern for our female citizens. Land has always been viewed as a family resource, with only one ejido membership allotted per family. I will enhance the Agrarian Reform Laws which were the first to establish that both males and females could be granted ejidatario status and therefore own land. We will content with the fact that as of today, ejido land can only be left to a spouse, child, or other economic dependent. Our objective is to implement policy that will make it possible to make the land pass through a spouse or partner first and then the children. The policies of our nation are quite old and because they are the very foundation, the Mexican people have historically functioned through the machismo like philosophies. "Gendered patterns in ownership and control of land can be expected to vary according to local political economic history, social norms, underlying cultural values, and women's political, social, and economic activism. (Deere and Leon)

In regard to NAFTA and the existing Labor Market Legislation, our workforce will have to be more diverse if we are to take advantage of the opportunities to the North. When Carlos Salinas de Gortari's established the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA with the United States and Canada, we as a nation instantly became more economically self sufficient. Salinas's main intention was to make Mexico into an industrial power. However, he feared that the United States would not support his ideas. Instead of fighting the giant to the north, Salinas joined the United States and Canada and the free trade agreement became a reality. What NAFTA did actually was to legitimize the actual trade policies that were already occurring but without any legal sanctions. But our labor force is running thin so we must be able to add new workers to the existing force. The force will be greatly enhanced when we have a capable female workforce. Where NAFTA went wrong was what the act did for commerce in removing barriers of trade it eliminated for the workers.

Specifically, NAFTA eliminated free immigration between the United States and Mexico and Canada. Salinas and Mexico thought they had hit a gold mine with NAFTA. Inflation dropped and the coffers of the main political party swelled. The boom created new buying opportunities and Salinas figured it was as good a time to dump laggard businesses for privatization that needed all new workers. Where will we find a capable workforce? We can use the United States as an example. When in World War II the workforce was at barebones, the women of the nation left the beauty saloons to work in the factories and shipyards.

The economic and political impact of privatization and neoliberalization on the female residents and urban fabric of Mexico is ready for new upheavals. Ordinary female residents of Mexico cope with the harshness of everyday life because, in a sense, they have become accustomed to the situation. They have never seen better living and working conditions. The mixtures of thousands of year old cultures like the Mayans, Aztecs and Toltecs, seems to have prepared these Native Indians to be strong in the face of any situation. The solution to these issues seems simple.

Working conditions in Mexico will have to improve for the female faction of the nation and legislation will have to support these changes. New working conditions and hours will be created through legislation because today NAFTA has helped crate extremely unfair situations for the female workers. These situations will have to be made more desirable and only cultural and legal changes can make that happen. Today, the fact…

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