Women are responsible for about 1/2 of the compensated economic activity in Mexico, and relied on in disproportionate numbers for the work done in the home. This represents about 15% of the GDP of the country. Yet women’s rights are largely ignored and mostly violated. Men still have the right to decide the fate of most women’s lives here, and it is reported that each day, 10 women are victims of femicidal violence.
For those who do compensated work, the average daily wage is 200-250 pesos, equivalent to $10-$12 per 8-hour day.
Gender violence is rampant, and that’s why women in Mexico are on strike today. Read this Washington Post article.
You can read more here in America’s Quarterly about why March 9 is a national women’s strike day in Mexico. Meanwhile, I offer this photo tribute to the women I know and have met over the years who do so much, for often so little, for their children and their families.
Women are encouraged to stay home and not work to demonstrate the impact of women who disappear.
In villages throughout Mexico where there is poverty, limited access to education, healthcare and economic opportunity, women suffer. Recently, during our Oaxaca Coast Textile Study Tour, the women of San Juan Colorado told us how their weaving brought income. Their husbands, subsistence farmers, had no opportunities to sell the food they grow, and turned to alcoholism for succor. Family violence is common when there are no choices.
Some women choose not to marry. Others, who become young widows like my friends Lupita and Josephina, choose not to remarry and to raise their families independently. This is not an option for most.
Men who have gone to the USA to work often never return, stop sending funds, leave their wives and children to make it on their own as they disappear into the vast community of the undocumented. USA public policy does an excellent job of separating families and keeping them estranged.
Let’s respect the work of all women — inside and outside the home — and given special attention today to women and families in Mexico who need and want better lives.