It is no secret that the world of politics is full of paradoxes, but there are some that come loaded with good intentions.
Such is the case with the Mexican government’s announcement of the adoption of a feminist foreign policy focused “on human rights” and that applies “a gender perspective across all sectors.”
In a press release, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs announced that the multilateral policy was discussed last January 7 during the 31st Annual Meeting of Ambassadors and Consuls (REC2020) at the Foreign Ministry, also assuring that the proposal “reinforces the Mexican government’s commitment to the agenda of gender equality and non-discrimination.”
The new policy is established on the basis of a series of principles that seek to reduce and eliminate “structural differences, gender gaps and inequalities, in order to build a more just and prosperous society.”
- Foreign policy with a gender perspective, and a feminist agenda abroad
- Parity within the Foreign Ministry
- A Foreign Ministry free of violence that is safe for all
- Visible equality
- Feminism in all areas of the Foreign Ministry
The most surprising aspect of the proposal, and what gives the public the opportunity to hold the government accountable, is the stipulation of steps and deadlines for each of the areas, starting with the presentation of the manual of principles, the reiteration of the government’s support for the HeforShe program, workshops, and the determination of safe and violence-free spaces.
According to Lyric Thompson, director of policy and advocacy at the International Center for Research on Women, “It’s pretty much everything that — over the course of our years of research and consultation — if we could have painted a gold standard, this is pretty close to it,” he said to Devex, a media platform for the global development community.
“It’s really exciting because Mexico is the first southern country and the first country in the Latin America region to do this,” he added.
With this new perspective, Mexico joins countries like Sweden, Canada, and France in implementing feminist development policies within the government.
However, according to Saraí Aguilar Arriozola, coordinator of the department of arts and humanities at the bilingual education research and development center in Monterrey, Nuevo León, the proposal of the Andrés Manuel López Obrador government “is based on a purely masculine vision.”
The researcher underscores the fact that in Mexico “there is only one woman among the 11 principal positions in the central offices,” with Martha Delgado, deputy secretary for multilateral affairs and human rights, as “the only woman in the Secretariat who is part of the first level of salaries.”
Gender equality in a country like Mexico is not an easy task.
Today, the Central American country is considered one of the most violent in the world, between the war against drug trafficking and institutionalized violence, with high rates of femicide — the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System estimates that 2,833 women were killed in 2019.
By 2016, 79.8% of women in Mexico City alone reported having suffered some form of gender-based violence, according to figures from the National Survey on the Dynamics of Household Relationships (ENDIREH).
Although the government initiative is a good first step, it seems that we are still far from real social change.