Women March Again Demanding Equality, SecurityBy Sofía Hanna | Tue, 03/09/2021 - 13:52
The International Women’s Day in Mexico has become highly controversial, politically and socially speaking. On Mar. 8, 2020, the country saw the largest female protest in Mexican history as women took the streets to fight for their rights, gender equality and to commemorate and raise awareness on the femicides and gender violence prevalent in the country. While this year, a protest of this scale was not possible because of the pandemic, the Mexican government prepared for a massive turnout nonetheless.
Last year, women ravaged historical monuments with feminist phrases and the names of missing women, according to a previous MBN article. This year, to protect the National Palace, the government put up a Wall of Peace, a metal fence that was approximately 3m tall that surrounded the entire building. “The wall is not out of fear of women; it is just a precaution,” said President López Obrador, according to BBC News.
As a response, Mexican women wrote with white letters the names of hundreds of women who were victims of femicide, changing the wall’s name to the “Memory Wall.” The main criticism against the government’s actions was its readiness to protect historic buildings instead of women. The wall was installed on Mar. 7, according to BBC News.
On Mar. 8, women took to the streets. According to official numbers, 81 women, 62 police officers and 19 passersby were injured. Approximately 20,000 people gathered around Mexico City’s National Palace, trying to break down the wall with hammers and sticks, as mentioned in a BBC article. Through social media, women reported that police officers were using tear and pepper gas against protestors. Marcela Figueroa, Undersecretary of Police Development of the SSC denied these accusations, however.
Tensions between López Obrador’s government and Mexican women have been increasing over the last few years. An approach the president took was making a video where he said: “I am not a macho, I am in favor of women’s rights and I am in favor of equality... I am not against feminism; I am against corruption, manipulation and authoritarianism.” However, since the beginning of this administration, the daily victims of femicides and homicides have increased substantially, despite the government stating otherwise. In 2020 alone, the number of violent female deaths, including femicides and intentional homicides, came to a total of 3,723 women, as reported by the BBC.
A recurring argument when discussing female protests is that numerically, the homicides of men exceed that of women. But, as previously stated by MBN, there is a great difference in the causes for which men and women are victims of violence. While a man may walk on the street and fear that his belongings may be stolen, a woman walking alone on the street is afraid of not only have her belongings stolen but being raped, kidnapped to be sexually enslaved or murdered after being raped and tortured.