It’s International Women’s Day — But Not Many Celebrate In Mexico

By Rodrigo Cervantes
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 4:00pm
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 5:54pm

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Olga Sanchez Cordero
Mexican Secretary of State
Mexican Secretary of State, Olga Sanchez Cordero, presenting the national program to protect women, along with Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

MEXICO CITY — For International Women’s Day, Mexico could celebrate its Congress’s nearly 50-50 gender parity. But many in the neighboring nation expect more equality and justice for women.

Several women’s rights groups will protest to commemorate the day, while others push for policy changes.

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) promised to confront femicides, discrimination and violence against women.

But his government plans to eliminate subsidies to nonprofits, such as community nurseries, and give cash directly to beneficiaries.

Many activists warn that AMLO’s decision will leave thousands of single or working mothers unprotected, while leaving many children without a proper care.

Analysts and civil rights defenders also fear his policy might extend to shelters for abused women. AMLO denied this would happen just a couple of days before Women’s Day, while presenting the first steps of his government’s program to protect women.


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But many think this is not enough and are skeptical, as femicides prevail, while many women still have to tolerate machismo and discrimination.

“Those are policies to win voters, more than to protect the lives of women,” said Arlene Ramírez Uresti, an analyst and member of Hijas de la MX, a non-partisan women’s rights organization advocating for better laws and measures to protect women.

“It is not good news that we are going backwards. With the lack of resources and budget given to these particular programs, a lot of women will be affected,” Ramírez said.

Ramírez, whose area of expertise in international affairs, said Mexico has signed several international protocols to protect women’s rights, but the country is not following them. She thinks AMLO wants public support by handling money to the citizens, while providing solutions without structure.

“If you give money to a woman that is suffering from violence inside her home, that will not solve the problem and that will not give her the full attention she needs,” said Ramírez.

Hijas de la MX emerged in February on social media as a group of people willing to push relevant gender topics in the Mexican political agenda and start conversations about women’s rights and gender equality.

Arlene Ramírez Uresti
Arlene Ramírez Uresti
Arlene Ramírez Uresti is an international and public affairs analyst based in Mexico City.

The Twitter account already has more than 65,000 followers and members, many of them outstanding women in the Mexican public sphere.

Ramírez said participation has increased into politics and civil society, but more spaces are needed.

“We have parity, of course, we have more opportunities, of course, but we are still living a very vulnerable situation for many Mexican women around different states,” Ramírez stated.

According to the United Nations, six out of 10 women in Mexico have suffered some type of violence.

“It is good to have more women in power, but this is not enough. It’s important to have public policies with a perspective of gender,” said the analyst.

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