Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto followed through on a campaign promise yesterday by launching an innovative life insurance program designed for single, female-headed households. The program, titled Seguro de Vida para Madres Jefas de Familia (Life Insurance for Female Heads of Family), will be overseen by the Secretariat of Social Development (Sedesol) and the Family Development Agency (DIF) with an initial budget of 400 million pesos ($32 million).
With a goal of universal coverage, the program will first be targeted at the 1.7 million women living in rural areas that suffer from high levels of poverty—which includes about 400 municipalities—before it moves into urban areas. To qualify for the insurance, mothers cannot exceed a monthly income of 2,130 pesos ($171). Each child will be entitled to 850,000 pesos ($68) a month if the mother becomes deceased to allow the child to be able to continue professional studies and not be forced to drop out to earn money.
Peña Nieto asserted that the measure is “an act of justice” as one in four households is led by a single mother. As part of the program, children of the deceased mother are under the care and protection of the state until they reach the age of 23 to ensure the completion of their professional education. Peña Nieto declared that this insurance is one layer of a larger social initiative program centered on promoting reproductive health, reducing maternal mortality rates and preventing violence and crime.
Present at the launch ceremony was the representative of the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) in Mexico, Isabel Crowley, who said that this program “has great significance to ensure progress in the rights of children,” and that this is an “historic opportunity to improve the conditions of children and adolescents in the country who have suffered serious loss of their parents.”