Politics: Women’s condition, demands and movement

MEXICO - Report 15 Mar 2021 by Guillermo Valdes and Francisco González

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had at least a full year in which to rethink his mistake of having come out against the largest wave of women’s rights protests in the nation’s history. Following months of demonstrations sparked by especially gruesome murders of young women and girls and a long history of impunity for those inflicting gender violence, hundreds of thousands took to the streets on International Women’s Day and then staged a nationwide women’s strike as a reminder that 10 women are murdered every day. All the while AMLO seemed unable to comprehend the scale of frustration, choosing instead to blame gender violence on the "neo-liberal policies" of his predecessors in office, essentially arguing that a solution to women’s demands will trickle down from his boilerplate formulas for all the country’s ills, all the while alleging that conservatives who want his government to fail were helping to instigate the protests.

Unsurprisingly, the president appeared to have learned nothing in the past year. Not only did he barricade himself in the National Palace and again question the motives of protestors on March 8, he gave them yet another reason to see him and his governing project as the enemy by firmly embracing his party’s decision to choose a man facing three accusations of sexual violence as a gubernatorial candidate.

But growing numbers of women are clearly not waiting for AMLO, unconvinced that their problems will be solved by the same formula he offered them the previous year of "fighting social and economic inequality, poverty and family disintegration". While they have achieved progress on some fronts – for example, this June will mark the first time in Mexico that women will comprise close to half of all candidates in congressional races as the country works its way toward achieving gender parity in public office – rising levels of gender violence and impunity are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. This week we analyze the hard numbers reflecting the myriad issues that leave women at a serious disadvantage in multiple spheres.

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