The Power of Women’s Liberation in Mexico

March 10, 2020

March 8th demonstration in Mexico City. Photo by Ángeles for News & Letters

Mexico City, MexicoIt was a March 8th and 9th like no other in our history. On the 8th, 100,000 and more women took to the streets to demand an end to the violence, the murders, the rapes—11 women are killed every day in Mexico—and to insist on their right to be free and self-determining in their lives. On March 9th, hundreds of thousands of women did not go to work, did not go onto the streets, into the shops, nor the schools, as many parts of Mexico City appeared deserted. The women were insisting “¡Ni una menos!” (“Not One Less Woman”, that is not one more murder of a woman), “We have a right to life.”

The March was the largest women’s march in Mexico City, and the most combative. A vast river of tens of thousands of women in purple, in green, in black—chanting, singing, carrying all manner of homemade signs demanding an end to violence, to rapes, to femicides, demanding the right to abortion, to be “subjects, not objects”—flowed several miles from the Monument of the Revolution to the central Zócalo. Indeed, while the first contingents reached the central plaza, thousands were still leaving the Revolution Monument. Women of all ages, classes, neighborhoods, schools marched. They filled the streets with their bodies and their chants demanding an end to violence.

None of this is an abstraction. Each woman has known violence. They have suffered it on their bodies, or someone they know and love has been a victim: a sister, mother, daughter, friend, colleague.

The historic march managed to unite women who don’t know each other, but recognize each other. In the first contingent were mothers of the victims of femicide. Among the contingents there are women from the LGBTQ community, youth, anarchists, theater makers, artists and music, students, people with disabilities, NGOs, and more. Young women organized to march, some with groups that have time dedicated to the subject and others spontaneously.

Photo by Ángeles for News & Letters

This past fourteen-plus months of the “new,” the “progressive” regime of Lopez Obrador has seen no improvement in the reality of violence against women. Often those feminists who raise their voices and take to the streets are told they are aligning with conservatives against the government. But a new moment has arisen. Neither the government nor patriarchal society can simply dismiss it.

Something has profoundly changed in the political life of Mexico with March 8 and March 9th. We will see what comes next.

 –participant from the Praxis en América Latina team

See also “Women’s movements reach for new global stage,” lead article from the March-April 2020 issue of News & Letters.

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