Empowering Young Mothers in Mexico

For many young mothers in Mexico, taking care of their family and raising their children is their primary occupation. However, this can make it challenging for them to maintain a sense of self-efficacy. They may become so focused on being a mother that they lose sight of their own passions, dreams, and skills that make up their unique personality. As a result, it can be difficult for them to feel confident in themselves, and their abilities outside of their role as a caregiver.

As the technology partner of Youth@Risk, a project by the Adecco Innovation Foundation to support youth at risk of falling off the labor market, SkillLab was used as a tool to encourage a shift in mindset among young mothers in Mexico. The goal of the project is to help them regain confidence, recognize their potential, and open their eyes to possible education and work opportunities.

“I know that as a young mother with a child, it’s very hard to get a job. It’s even hard to recognize that you have valuable skills because you dedicate all your time to your child and not to yourself.”
Tania, mother included in the project

Meet Tania, a 20-year-old mom living in the suburb of Mexico City with her son and partner. Despite her young age, she has been through a lot, and has gained considerable experience, sometimes deviating from standard paths. Tania worked as a manager in a clothing store and as a food distributor before that. She is an active member of her community, organizing events, and has a passion for arts, playing music, singing, and making crafts. Since becoming a mother, her main occupation now includes housekeeping, cooking, and raising her son.

Four women, three sitting and one standing, discussing the app while one of them is using it on the phone

Our mission was to help Tania, and other girls like her, to see themselves through a different lens, acknowledging the set of invisible skills that make them valuable and unique. Each experience - be it employment, education, or life experience - can be described through their formal titles, but most importantly through the skills that were used or learned during that time. In essence, SkillLab works as a translator: it uses artificial intelligence to turn employment and life journeys into a profile of skills, generating a comprehensive skill-based profile that can uncover new employment or education pathways.

“I learned that things you do every day at home, like sweeping, cooking, raising children, childcare build skills that you can use for a job. At first, for me such skills didn’t seem valuable, they were just skills but the app helps show you the value of all your skills and experiences.”

Tania and other young mothers like her used our tool during a set of organized workshops in Mexico City. The activity started by explaining the meaning of skills, providing relatable examples, explaining why skills are important and how they can help in finding formal job opportunities. Then, we moved on to practice. The groups were given access to our tool and were free to create their skill-based profiles using the SkillLab app. The girls encouraged each other, brainstorming on articulating their experiences into skills. “Besides working as a cashier, you were also taking care of the restock, right? Then you should also add that skill. I think I am also a good listener, can I add that as well?”.

For a person like Tania's, being able to view her potential through a different lens plays a crucial role in building a stronger sense of value. Tania added 47 skills to her profile, the majority gained through life experiences, and 13 skills learned from her previous jobs. The app can generate a CV that highlights her potential, and provides her with a tangible reminder of her skillset. The CV can be used as a formal tool to gain access to new studies or work opportunities, but it can also serve as a personal reminder of one's potential. In some cases, these young mothers are unable to change their current situation, they have to stay at home and take care of their children because that’s how their household is structured. Tania, for instance, may only be able to commit to a longer-term opportunity only once her child is in school. Nevertheless, our accomplishment is to have changed her perspective, enabling her to recognize her potential by and beyond being a mother.

“The moment I saw my profile from the app, I was very surprised to see all my skills, emphasized in a really good way. Using the app enables you to discover things about yourself that you didn’t even know you had, and that with those skills it’s possible to find a job that fits you.”

You can read more about this and other solutions that help underserved communities find their pathways to work in the Adecco Innovation Foundation Annual Report.