After opening 2020 with one of the most violent months in its history of femicides, women in Mexico have decided to paralyze the country with a 24-hour strike.
The coalition of Mexican feminist organizations have called for “a day without women” and a march on March 8th, International Women’s Day,that will tour the capital from the Monument to the Revolution to the Antimonumenta, ending at the Zócalo.
According to the Joint and Organized Feminist Assembly, the demands of the demonstration are the rejection of feminicidal violence against women, the denunciation of the National Guard, justice for the victims, the recognition of “unpaid reproductive work,” the right to decide about their bodies, and even for the effective separation of church and state.
The feminist movement in Mexico, as in much of the world, has embraced under its umbrella such struggles as environmentalism, justice for violence against community leaders, and the vindication of the LGBTQ community.
However, femicide rates in the Central American country are much higher than elsewhere. In Mexico an average of 10 women die every day, according to figures from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, 90% of the cases go unpunished, and re-victimization is an everyday incident.
In Mexico alone, 1 out of every 10 femicides is committed against girls and adolescents under 17 years of age; 66% of women over 15 years of age have claimed to experience at least one episode of physical aggression, and around 40% have experienced emotional or economic aggression of some kind.
Even worse, between 2007 and 2017, patterns of victimization changed radically, precisely because “violence in public spaces surpassed violence in private spaces for the first time in decades,” Letras Libres said.
“While the number of women murdered increased for all age groups, the rate of young women between 20 and 35 years of age who were murdered tripled,” the newspaper added.
The feminist struggle, meanwhile, has also moved into public spaces.
After the recent murders of young activist Isabel Cabanillas and Ingrid Escamilla, the patience of the female community in Mexico came to an ending point, and transformed the cry of “Ya Basta!” (Enough is Enough!) into “el 9 ninguna se mueve” (On the 9th, nobody moves.), with the intention of showing the country what the disappearance of the female labor force means.
“Many of our slogans (such as ‘The revolution will be feminist’ or ‘The future is feminist’) spoke of this moment,” said Arussi Unda, spokesperson for Las Brujas del Mar, a feminist collective in the state of Veracruz that has helped spread the word about the strike. “And that moment seems to be coming.”
Sabina Berman, a Mexican novelist and feminist activist, told the New York Times En Español that the core of these recent protests is a generation of younger women who have grown tired of the more moderate approach to activism.
“It’s these young women who said ‘no more peaceful protests,’ marching in the streets with a smile. And they chose to break windows and police stations,” she said. “They’re the ones who ignited the spark by taking that step. They woke us up.”
“What we want is for this not to remain an anecdote or a nice picture of the march,” Unda concluded, “but to become concrete actions by all those who participate and support it.”