Femicide is defined as the most extreme form of gender-based violence, leading to the death of women solely because of their gender. It is a direct consequence of gender inequality and stereotypes, and takes place mostly in regions where women have less access to education, financial independence and/or justice. Furthermore, the cases of femicides in Mexico are increasing because of the social structures that allow violence against women and impunity.
The last few months have been vital for the feminist movement across Latin America in the fight against gender-based violence, insecurity, domestic violence, kidnapping, sexual assault, and impunity. In short, they are fighting for their right to life. As a part of the movement, feminist groups in Mexico are calling for a national strike on March 9th which has been named “a day without women.” The strike is about highlighting the role of women in society by taking them away for a day. The goal is to make a statement against femicide and impunity, demanding that the Mexican government acknowledges the gravity of the situation, and implements policies that protect, respect and fulfill women’s right to a life free from violence.
However, the movement has also enraged the Mexican society. In many cases, the media is portraying the demonstrations as violent and unnecessary, and social media channels are full of condescending messages against women. Somehow, the goal of the awareness raising campaign is been challenged by denial.
"The goal is to make a statement against femicide and impunity, demanding that the Mexican government acknowledges the gravity of the situation, and implements policies that protect, respect and fulfill women’s right to a life free from violence."
This denial is also seen in politics. Although the mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, has consistently acknowledged and addressed the problem, the Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is failing to be a part of the dialogue that the activists are looking for. Not only is he failing to implement policies protecting women in the country, but he is in fact undermining the movement by calling for a “moral regeneration” as a vague answer to the high levels of femicides in the country. This, in other words, shows a lack of commitment to eradicate all forms of violence against women.
According the Executive Secretariat of National Public Security System, ten women are murdered in Mexico every day. Mexico has witnessed an alarming increase of femicide and sexual violence in recent years. Yet, in the context of justice, we also see an increase of cases that fall on the cold hands of impunity. Studies show that there are three elements that strengthen violence against women as a phenomenon: Its normality, its invisibility and the impunity surrounding it. The women in Mexico are now fighting against these three elements by raising awareness of the horrific developments in the country. Therefore, it is our duty to echo their voices and support their fight for the right to life.
The NHRF invites different actors within the human rights field to contribute on this blog. The opinions expressed here are those of the authors.