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Mexico: Women stay at home to protest femicide

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Women march during International Women's Day in Mexico City, Sunday, March 8, 2020.
Women march during International Women's Day in Mexico City, Sunday, March 8, 2020.   -   Copyright  Eduardo Verdugo/AP
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This Monday, tens of thousands of women in Mexico stayed at home, walked out of work, schools, social events and other functions to protest femicide. This comes a day after massive demonstrations for International Women's Rights Day on March 8.

Some feminists associations have called for a "Day Without Women" on March, 9 to denounce femicide, inaction by the authorities and, more generally, sexism in Mexican society.

The initiative was launched in February through social networks by the feminist collective Brujas del Mar, originally from the state of Veracruz, in the east of the country, under the slogan 'El nueve ninguna se mueve' ('On the 9th, nobody moves').

Violence against women in Mexico is particularly dramatic. According to official figures, Mexico recorded 1,006 femicides in 2019, a jump of + 136% since 2015. The actual number is likely much higher.

The country was recently upset by the brutal murder of a young 25-year-old woman by her husband as well as the death of a seven-year-old girl tortured by several people.

The strike movement of March, 9 rallied under another slogan "Ni una menos", meaning "Not one less" in Spanish, made popular for several years by demonstrations against sexist violence in Latin America and Spain.

Following the example of Iceland's women strike in 1975, this event "represents a historic moment," according to Mexican journalist Isabella Cota.

Cota told Euronews: "Mexicans are taking a page out of the book of women in Iceland and Spain, and to a certain extent in the United States."

"It also represents the first opportunity to make an actual impact in Mexican society, in the hopes that people will value the work of women, unpaid and paid."

She denounced the fact that "half of Mexico are women and [we] are not heard or protected by the state."

"We won’t disturb traffic or paint on the walls. We won’t even go outside or be vocal on March 9 but we won’t stop raising our voice until violence against women is addressed."

Eduardo Verdugo/AP
Women march during International Women's Day in Mexico City, March 8, 2020.Eduardo Verdugo/AP

Women's rights in Mexican law

Despite a "fair amount of criticism" of feminists protests, the Mexican government officially backed this event, Corta confirmed.

"There is 'official' support at the federal level but I don’t think that translates into dialogue or understanding. The president even said men are allowed to take the day off too if they want, completely missing the point and undermining the strike," she stressed.

Striking is enshrined in the country's law and protects strikers from possible negative consequences from their employers.

Mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, had ordered the municipality organisations not to take sanctions against the strikers, AFP reported.

"Institutions such as universities, schools, and even private companies (...), they have all come out in support," Isabel Corta notes. "They have all said 'We will miss women working on that day because they are an important part of our workforce but they will face no negative consequences."

Women are so important and yet we are always silenced, we are always abused. They are killing women in Mexico just for the sake of being women.
Isabel Corta
Mexican journalist

The journalist hopes that this strike "will make people pay attention and will make the government act on the impunity that reigns when it comes to murdering women in this country," she concluded.

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