Current literacy data from UNESCO indicate that in Mexico, 4.3 million adults older than age 15 cannot read or write proficiently. In particular, this problem affects adults older than 60, persons with disabilities, agricultural workers, indigenous people, and women. It is important to emphasize that of the population who cannot read, 61% are women (UNESCO, 2018).
In rural areas of Mexico, a lack of infrastructure and access are significant barriers to quality education that limit the educational trajectory of youth, in particular of young and adult women. These difficulties, added to the precarious conditions of development in rural areas, produce a learning crisis for students that deepens social exclusion and education inequalities, which are factors that reinforce the cycle of poverty (National Institute for the Evaluation of Education, 2019).
In 2020, in response to this reality, Lancôme Mexico together with ProLiteracy implemented the Write Her Future initiative in partnership with Proyectos Laubach de Alfabetización en México (PLAMAC). The program focused its initial efforts in three rural communities: San Juan, San Miguelito and El Sauz, part of the municipality of San Miguel de Allende. Based on the successful results of this first phase, Write Her Future initiated its second phase in November 2021 in the sub-urban communities of San Telmo de Roa and Ex Hacienda de Márquez in the municipality of Irapuato, Guanajuato.
The initiative focused in the State of Guanajuato where failure to complete school is a persistent problem. In 2020, 18.4% of the population older than 15 did not conclude their mandatory education. Likewise, regarding the issue of low literacy, 5.2% of the population over 15 years old cannot read or write at a proficient level, this is equivalent to a total of 238,838 inhabitants (The National Institute of Statistics and Geography, 2020).
Write Her Future aims to equip women with basic reading, writing, and numeracy skills; providing personalized tutoring and instruction for those women who want to complete their primary, secondary, or high school education. The program aims to empower women through education and literacy to generate better life outcomes for them and their communities.
The services are offered to women in need between the ages of 18 to 75 years old. In partnership with local educational authorities, PLAMAC guides participants through the validation process to complete and certify educational diplomas. In addition to developing literacy skills, the program creates opportunities to promote a dialogue with the community about relevant women’s issues, including gender equality, women’s roles in society, and violence against women.
In response to the pandemic, a comprehensive educational response plan was developed to not only offer continuity in the teaching and mentoring process, but to also provide new digital literacy tools.