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A day without women in Mexico as a sign of protest

Fed up with the increase in feminicides and attacks on women, activist groups have called for a national strike for a day to demand greater respect for their rights.
MEXICO CITY - Not a single woman in offices or schools. No women in restaurants and stores. Not in public transport, in cars or on the streets.

A country without women, for a day.

It is the vision proposed by an alliance of feminist groups in Mexico. Inspired by the increasing violence suffered by women and girls, whose most recent sample are the two horrific murders that horrified the nation this month, they have called on the country's female population to participate in a twenty-four hour strike on March 9.

This call is made to protest against gender violence, inequality and the culture of machismo, in addition to demanding more support for women's rights. Promoted with the label # UNDÍASINNOSOTRAS, it has gained an extraordinary strength in this country of more than 120 million inhabitants, with a wide acceptance of the public and private sectors, civic groups, religious leaders and many women, if not the majority.

This support has overcome the barriers of class, race, economic level and political affiliation that have fragmented the nation, which has filled its organizers with hope that it is not only a monumental event, but a turning point in modern history from Mexico.

“Many of our slogans (such as 'The revolution will be feminist' or 'The future is feminist') spoke of this moment,” said Arussi Unda, spokeswoman for Las Brujas del Mar, a feminist collective in the state of Veracruz that has helped spread Information about unemployment. "And that moment seems to be coming."

For a year, feminist activism in Mexico, inspired in part by the global #MeToo movement, has gained new momentum . Women, fed up and frustrated, have taken to the streets to protest against gender-based violence and entrenched macho attitudes. The protests have been tumultuous and sometimes violent, as the participants have broken windows and painted public monuments, including the National Palace , with feminist slogans and slogans.

Sabina Berman, a Mexican feminist novelist and activist, said the core of these recent protests is a generation of younger women who have already tired of the more moderate approach to activism.

“It is these girls who said 'no more peaceful protests', marching in the street with a smile. And they chose to break windows and police stations, ”he said. “It is they who lit the spark when they took that step. They woke us up. ”

The movement, which remained somewhat contained for months, exploded this month after news was released about the terrible murders of a woman and a girl.

Ingrid Escamilla, a 25-year-old resident of Mexico City, was stabbed, skinned and eviscerated. His remains appeared on February 9, and photos of his mutilated body leaked to the tabloids, which published the images on the front page, which exacerbated social outrage.

On February 11, Fatima Cecilia Aldrighett, 7, was kidnapped from an elementary school in Mexico City and her body was found wrapped in a plastic bag next to a construction site on the outskirts of the capital.

Unda said his feminist activist group was deeply rooted by these deaths, so they met with other groups to decide how they should respond.

"We turned to see each other and said: 'What else has to happen for this to change?'" He recalled.

Instead of occupying public spaces, which is the customary action to express protest, they decided to prepare an action that symbolized the disappearance of women from those spaces "to convey a message of anger and rejection of the violence suffered by women," he said.

For those who want to participate in the March 9 strike, the instructions are very simple: Stay home. The strike will be the day after International Women's Day, the date on which protesters are expected to take to the streets throughout the country.

The Business Coordinating Council of Mexico, an influential coalition of business groups, issued a statement urging the private sector to support women workers participating in the strike.

"Without a doubt, the response of the authorities in recent years has not been adequate or sufficient," said the council in reference to the crisis of violence against women. "But we all fail as a society in our part of responsibility."

"It is a time of solidarity and empathy," the statement continued, "but also of responsibility and actions. Each one of us must do our part ”.

A large business union, Concanaco Servytur, estimates that the one-day strike would cost the Mexican economy $ 1,370 million.

Many government agencies at the local, state and federal levels have also given their support to the civil servants who participate in the strike.

Claudia Sheinbaum, the head of the Government of Mexico City, said she had instructed all department leaders in the city government not to penalize any employee who missed work on the day of unemployment. He said the city employs about 150,000 women.

The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has said that he generally supports the right of citizens to demonstrate. However, he has also perceived a certain shadow of political machinations in the strike, as he has said that his opponents intend to seize the moment to fuel the political opposition towards his government.

"No to manipulation, not opportunism," he warned during a press conference this week.

However, the organizers of the strike and many others have ignored the president's insinuations that, for some, the event is a political maneuver.

"The protest is not against this government or any other," Berman said. "It is against the Mexican State as a whole, against the private sector, against the men who harass, rape and kill and against the good men who cross their arms, doing nothing."

The organizers hope that the strike will not only be a fleeting protest but will inspire a robust national dialogue and cause significant changes in Mexican society. Among them, concrete measures - such as improving nursery conditions for working mothers - and broader changes in attitudes towards women and their rights.

"What we want is that this does not remain in anecdote or a beautiful photo of the march," said Unda, "but that it becomes concrete actions of all who participate and support."



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My Hack Stuff: A day without women in Mexico as a sign of protest
A day without women in Mexico as a sign of protest
Fed up with the increase in feminicides and attacks on women, activist groups have called for a national strike for a day to demand greater respect for their rights.
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