Women across Mexico went on strike on the morning of March 9, protesting the government’s lack of initiative in stopping femicide, when more than ten women are murdered every day.
On the morning of March 9, in Mexico City, one of the busiest cities in the world, things became unusually silent. In all public places, no figures of any working woman could be seen, whether at subway stations, banks or even some nail salons were all closed. Not only the capital, but very few women appeared on the streets in all cities in Mexico. It was a special day for the women across Mexico who participated in the protest against the crisis of violence that has struck them and commemorate the women who have faced brutality.
Recently, Mexico has been shaken by the rise of violence against women, including some particularly gruesome murders. In February 2020, Mexico discovered two terrifying murders of women and children, 25-year-old Ingrid Escamilla and 7-year-old Fátima Cecilia Aldrighett Antón. The whole country was shocked when Escamilla was catastrophically killed with her skinned body image appearing on the covers of newspapers and the Internet. Sadly, Fátima’s body was found a week later in a plastic bag after being kidnapped, assaulted and brutally murdered. These cases have strengthened the long-standing women’s movement, which has repeatedly clashed with many generations of Mexican governments. They say that the government lacks the necessary responsibility in protecting and respecting the equality of women.
During the weeks of the strike, thousands of protesters appeared outside the government building, scribbling the words “Femicide Nation” scrawled outside the door. On International Women’s Day March 8, at least 80,000 people paraded through the city centre. With the slogan “On the 9th, women do not go anywhere,” women in Mexico voiced their concerns and opposed the increasing trend of femicide, to repel the culture where the daily contributions of women for society are forgotten and overlooked. “I decided not to go to work, not to leave the house, not to go to the market as a way of protesting the violence that women are suffering,” said Brenda Hernandez, 33, a supermarket manager in Mexico City. Women are called to take one day off at work as well as to stop doing housework at home. The movement grew so great that even the government – the target of the protest, agreed to participate. Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo said female employees who quit work on 9 March will not be penalized. “Many women have suffered violence, they have followed the legal channels, but they also get tired. They are not listened to. They are not attended to. Their demands are ignored,” says María Salguero, creator of the National Map of Femicide.
However, when asked if the government has a new approach to this issue, Mr. Lopez Obrador, president of Mexico bluntly replied no. Instead, he and his administration will reinforce old strategies to investigate the causes of femicide victims in Mexico. He also listed a series of superficial solutions, including building a better society, in which there is no problem of surplus, high-paying people, happy families, and the enhancement of good values. He downplayed the severity of recent violent crises as women and relatives of victims became impatient with the government’s failure to equally protect gender-based violence. The government administered a 75% budget cut this year for the National Institute for Women, which is responsible for gender equality in the country. This has caused great disappointment to all women in general in Mexico at the government’s indifference, irresponsibility and excesses.
It is not clear whether this movement will bring about any immediate changes in the society of this Central American country, but one thing is certain that it will continue to inspire women around the world to fight for equality and violence prevention.