Mexico - Social development

The social security system includes old age pensions, disability, medical, and work injury benefits. The system covers all workers. Pensions are financed by contributions from employees, employers, and the government. Retirement is set at age 65, and benefits are determined by length of employment. Insurance for occupational accidents is financed by employer contributions, and provides for 100% of earnings for temporary disability, and 70% of salary for those permanently disabled. Insured workers and their families receive medical and maternity benefits. During pregnancy and childbirth and for a period thereafter, insured women receive obstetrical care, nursing aid, a cash subsidy, and a layette.

An amendment to the 1917 constitution states that men and women are equal before the law, but the traditional concept of women as homemakers is widely accepted. However, this traditional role is beginning to change albeit slowly. Women have the right to file for separation or divorce, and the right to own property in their own name. However, human rights abuses have been committed by employers attempting to keep pregnant women off their payrolls to avoid providing the costly maternity benefits required by law. These abuses include mandatory pregnancy testing, firing women, and inducing them to quit by imposing unpleasant or hazardous working conditions. Women continue to earn less than men even though equal pay is mandated by law. Domestic violence is widespread and is vastly underreported. Organizations and women's groups are working to counter the view that spousal abuse is a private matter and normal behavior.

Indigenous peoples have full protection under the law, but in practice they face discrimination and experience severe economic deprivation. Numerous nongovernmental organizations in Mexico are working to protect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples. The 1996 San Andres Accords, which addressed the demands voiced in the 1994 Chiapas uprising, expanded indigenous rights. The human rights of citizens are generally respected, although there are continued reports of extrajudicial killings, torture, illegal arrests and arbitrary detention.

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