While May 10th is Mother’s Day in Mexico, in Juarez, Mexico City, Veracruz and other Mexican cities, mothers gathered to grieve more so than celebrate. These guardians of young women murdered or disappeared demanded government action amidst a resurgence of gender violence in the country, and years of government inaction. Writer and co-founder of the Mexico Violence Resource Project at the University of California San Diego Cecilia Farfan-Mendez grapples with the painful state of gender violence and violence against women in Mexico in her American Quarterly article,”Why Gender Violence in Mexico Persists— And How to Stop It,” (May 17, 2022).
Read the excerpts below for more information on the country’s dire state of affairs and what some community members are demanding as first-step solutions to this ongoing violence:
According to official data, 10 women are killed in Mexico every day, and homicide is the leading cause of death for Mexican women between the ages of 15 and 24. Last year, 78.8% of women said they felt unsafe in their home states, and 45.6% felt unsafe in their own neighborhoods. Most concerning, things appear to be getting worse: Between 2015 and 2021, femicides—the intentional killing of women because of their gender—increased 137%, according to official figures.
Evaluating public policy is rarely a black and white exercise, but it’s worth examining what the López Obrador administration has done in response to the crisis, and what it could do better. There’s no panacea in addressing gender violence, but there is one major prerequisite for protecting women on which Mexico’s government has fallen far short: the social safety net.
Evidence from around the world shows how social programs aimed at promoting gender equality also provide women with the financial independence they need to escape situations that put them at risk (an abusive marriage, for example). But while López Obrador came into office on a promise to reinvigorate and strengthen programs for the most vulnerable, his government has done much to tear down the social infrastructure designed with women in mind.
Read the complete article here.