The sexual division of work has historically relegated women to the private sphere, to domestic labors and caring for their families.

Although women have been able to insert themselves in paid labor over the past 50 years, millions of them have been obliged to employ themselves in industries where their labor rights are violated, such as in the case of domestic, maquila (factory), agricultural or sex workers. In these contexts women constantly face exploitation, violence, and discrimination.

Under the Work program, Fondo Semillas aims to support women’s autonomy by promoting their labor rights in order to guarantee proper working conditions and access to a decent life. We dream of a world that favors women’s leadership and their access to economic and political power, as well as one that promotes a greater incorporation of men in unpaid tasks and caregiving.

The Work program includes, among other topics:

  • Labor rights of factory workers, domestic workers, sex workers, day laborers, packagers, telephone operators, migrant women, etc.
  • Women’s political participation
  • Women’s participation in labor unions
  • Economic autonomy/empowerment
  • Work-family balance


From exploited workers to owners of their own shop

In 2009, a group of maquila textile workers in Coahuila were fired for defending their labor rights and rebelling against the unfair conditions they were made to work in.

Thanks to support from Fondo Semillas, they were able to organize themselves and set up the Dignity and Justice cooperative in Piedras Negras, which produces shirts, bags, sweatshirts, and other cotton articles, free from exploitation, fulfilling fair trade criteria, and with less environmental impact.

The women work in two workshops, determine their own rules, and receive double the salary large maquiladoras pay.


  • Women earn up to 30% less than men for the same job.
  • 81% of men with a working age obtain income; only 51% of women do so.
  • Only one of the 32 entities in the country is governed by a woman
  • Women dedicate 59.9 hours a week to caring for their family and domestic work; men only dedicate 19.9 hours.


  • Over 48 million pesos invested in this program.
  • 203 projects supported in these topics, 27% of the total
  • Chihuahua, Coahuila, Mexico City, Chiapas, and Yucatan, are the states that received most support

Sources: Trabajo: CONAPRED (ENADIS 2010), OXFAM México, “Autonomía de las mujeres e igualdad en la agenda de desarrollo sostenible” (CEPAL)