World Bank approves $700 million for Mexico to boost women’s economic opportunities

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World Bank approves $700 million for Mexico to boost women's economic opportunities © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A participant stands near a logo of World Bank at the International Monetary Fund – World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, October 12, 2018. REUTERS/Johannes P. Christo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The World Bank said it had approved on Friday a $700 million operation for Mexico to promote public policies to create economic opportunities and expand social security for women.

The operation is set to help close gender gaps, provide access to better jobs, improve safety on public transport and systems to prevent gender-based violence, an urgent issue in a country where on average some 20 women are killed every day.

The project also looks to expand social security coverage to cover all domestic workers – who are mostly women – to protect them against economic blows. Some 72% of domestic workers in Mexico do not receive any sort of work benefits, according to the country’s statistics agency.

The operation will also focus on expanding efficient, low-emission modes of transport.

“These measures are expected to improve the perception and safety of women when using non-motorized and public transport,” the World Bank said in a statement, helping women avoid cars and reducing the transport sector’s overall carbon footprint.

Public transportation is the second-most common place where sexual violence against women in Mexico takes place, according to an Enkoll poll published earlier this year by newspaper El Pais.

The transport reforms should help women better access employment and education, it said.

“Improving women’s access to economic opportunities is key to improving their productivity and income, thus reducing inequalities in Mexico,” Mark Thomas, the bank’s Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela director said in a statement.

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