Victoria Law is a journalist who spent 6 years with the Zapatista movement in Southern Mexico and published Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories. She gives an overview of the Zapatistas, the influence women have in the movement and the impact the movement has had on their lives. The Zapatistas began organizing in the 80s and declared war on the state of Mexico in 1994, on the exact day the NATO the free trade agreement began. Since then the movement is renowned for the peaceful protests, indigenous organization, and their autonomy. Women have played a key role in the Zapatista communities accomplishing a drastic reduction of violence against women, the prohibition of alcohol (connected to abuse), the freedom to participate and lead in politics, and autonomy over their lives. Victoria sheds light to many things that can be learned from the organization of the Zapatistas and the key role that women continue to play in their liberation and in the liberation of their people. Photo Credit: Mr. Thelkan
Two female chemical engineer students developed a prototype that converts polluted water into clean energy through a purifier and an electrolyzer. Jeimmie Gabriela Espino Ramírez and Lisset Dayanira Neri Pérez, at the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico, are the creators of this device they named Gimfi, which in the Otomi language means “dirty water”. The students designed Gimfi to be both portable or nonportable in order to provide clean fuel for stoves and ovens in marginalized areas. The filter is made of natural elements like cotton, sand, volcanic rock, gravel, marble and charcoal. The hydrogen generated is currently produced with electricity but they plan on adapting it to solar panels, which would make Gimfi even more sustainable. Photo credit: Serg Velusceac/El Universal
Isela Gonzalez, director of Alianza Sierra Madre, uses civic activism to fight for political change as a way to confront the vested economic interests of not only big corporations, but also narco-gangs and corrupt politicians, that violate indigenous land rights. In a country that is painted in violence, with assassinations as an answer to those who have a different vision than governmental or corporate agendas, standing up for environmental and social causes come with serious risks. Often facing threats to her life, which has resulted in armed guards, panic buttons and crisis training, Gonzalez is staunch in her battle to defend the Tarahumara’s rights. The three tribes who live among the pine-oak forests of the Sierra Madre have a worldview that sees themselves as part of the land and it was this, as well as their way of life, that inspired her to refocus the direction of Alianza Sierra Madre on indigenous rights as the frontline for environmental protection. Photo credit: Thom Pierce for The Guardian.
Oliveria Montes is the spokeswoman for several Indigenous communities including the Totonacos, the Nahuas, and the Otomies in Mexico in active resistance to the Tula-Tuxpan gas pipeline in Puebla and Hidalgo. These communities are organizing against the final portion of the pipeline construction which if completed would run through key water sources and mountainous ancestral lands. Montes affirms that their struggle is not only to protect the land and Indigenous communities, but is also a fight against ongoing foreign corporate influence intertwined with political corruption in Mexico. In the face of intimidation and violence, Montes is spreading awareness of these corrupt actions to international activists for further support. Photo credit: [Video screenshot]
Purépecha activist Guadalupe Campanur Tapia was a courageous Indigenous woman human rights and Earth defender of Cherán, Michocán, Mexico. Her bravery and leadership helped mobilize local Indigenous communities to protect regional forests against illegal logging, and to claim independence against a corrupt government. However, her activism resulted in threats of violence from organized crime groups, and she was murdered in January 2018. Campanur is among an increasing number of defenders across the globe who have been killed in recent years, especially women. This article recounts Guadalupes death in the context of the 312 defenders across 27 countries who were murdered in 2017. Photo credit: Cultural Survival
María de Jesús “Marichuy” Patricio Martínez, a Nahua Indigenous woman leader born in Tuxpan, Jalisco, has made history as Mexico’s first ever Indigenous woman presidential candidate for the 2018 elections. María is a traditional healer in her community, know for her lifetime of work to protect traditional ways, culture, language and the wellbeing of the Indigenous peoples of Mexico. She was prompted to run for office after witnessing the dangerous impact of industry, particularly mining, on the health and lives of her people and the land on which they depend. Photo credit: Duncan Tucker
Mexican woman María de Jesús Patricio Martínez has been nominated by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and Mexico’s National Indigenous Congress to represent their communities in next year’s elections for president. Patricio is a leader in preserving traditional Indigenous medicine and healing techniques, a gift she says comes from her deep connection to the Earth. Patricio’s candidacy is a symbol of the close-knit connections between Indigenous people and the land in Mexico. Photo credit: Stringer/Reuters
On February 21 2017, Mexico City’s Museum of Anthropology and History delivered an official apology to three Indigenous women for the violation of their human rights. Alberta Alcántara, Jacinta Francisco Marcial, and Teresa González, members of the Hñä-Hñú (Otomí) people, were first arrested and unlawfully detained in August 2006, after the police tried to seize goods from Indigenous vendors. They were falsely charged with the kidnapping of six federal police and despite the lack of evidence, sentenced to 21 years in prison without the Hñähñu translator they should have been provided with under the law. The case is emblematic of the failures of Mexico’s justice system to offer equitable access to justice to indigenous people. Photo credit: Open Society Foundations
Tanya Muller Garcia, Environmental Secretary of Mexico City, reports that the capitol is the first major Latin American city to actively pursue increasing the climate leadership of women in politics, as part of the C40 Women4Climate initiative and others. Photo Credit: USE DEFAULT
The strong commitment to give back to her country pushed Fulbright-Robles García scholar T. E. Martinez to pursue a doctorate degree in Holland. Fighting against the odds in Mexico at very young age, she joined Wageningen University and continuous to pursue research to make a difference in life of Indigenous farmers. Her focus is not only to create inclusive technologies to solve everyday challenges, but also to understand and help others to understand the lives of Indigenous people and farmers. Photo credit: Remezcla
This report from JASSS Just Associates shares the stories of women including Italia Mendez, one of hundreds of protesters arrested and held in prison by the Mexican government in 2006 in the village of Atenco. She suffered sexual torture while in custody, a form of torture that includes rape and sexual assault accompanied by a narrative that women’s transgressions from traditional roles brought on their punishment. Instead of remaining silent, Mendez is speaking out about her experience, giving a talk to students at New York University and filing a case with other impacted women in the Inter-American court. Photo credit: CIMACFoto/César Martínez López
Bettina Cruz, an environmental and human rights defender from Oaxaca, discusses how the local construction and operation of wind farms has caused severe environmental destruction and impacted fishing practices, killed animals, and changed a way of life the local Indigenous people have maintained for generations. The energy produced by the farms doesn’t benefit the local people, but instead is sold to major global companies, including Coca-Cola, Bimbo, Wal-Mart, and Heineken. Photo credit: Global Greengrants Fund
Nobel Women's Initiative profiles leader of the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities - Community Police (CRAC-PC) in the Costa-Montaña region of Guerrero, Mexico, Felicitas Martínez Solano, an Indigenous Me’phaa human rights defender. She is responsible for the administration of justice and re-education in cases brought before her, practicing accountability and transparency for the Me’phaa and Na Savi indigenous people. Solano also founded the Guerrero Coordinator of Indigenous and African-descent Women to address maternal mortality and women and children’s health. Photo credit: Nobel Women’s Initiative
Luisa Emilia Reyes Zúñiga, Programme Director of Equality and Sustainable Development Policies and Budget with the Mexican NGO Equidad de Género, an expert on gender responsive policies, has trained many governmental and UN officials. She spoke to UN women about the challenges she faces in her advocacy. She stressed the recognition of human rights framework in climate agreements to attain three dimensions of sustainable development i.e. social, economic and environmental. Photo credit: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Gwen Pearson centers the work of the Co’oleel Caab Collective in Yucatan, Mexico. This women’s collective, led by Anselma Euan, practices meliponiculture, the care and keeping of native stingless bees. Stingless bees produce honey, and they do not sting or have venom; however, because they produce less honey than European honeybees, many (traditionally male) beekeepers no longer keep native bees. As a result, native stingless bees could possibly be endangered. The women of the Co’oleel Caab Collective have dedicated themselves to native bee conservation, and they have been empowered as entrepreneurs in the process.
Obstetric violence is defined as violence inflicted upon women by health officials or midwives during birth. Mayan women in Mexico are often victims of obstetric violence in the Yucatan Peninsula. This research is focusing on the expressions of activism women utilized to counter obstetric violence. Through interviews, this research highlights the goals and methods of activism used by Ime, Yuritizi, Itzel, Doña Ake, Irna, Margarita and America, women who fight day by day to end gendered violence. Their activism takes on various forms, from creating services to changing policy to encouraging community based organizing. Their narratives show the constant restrictions they have over their bodies and safety. However, these women show extraordinary forms of resistance. Whether they are mothers, midwives, or activists, women are constantly resisting against all odds.
Two anonymous women founded the Feminist Library in response to their experience with the sexism and misogyny deeply rooted in Mexico’s culture. They founded this Facebook community to share feminist texts, news, photos and articles with their community. Photo credit: Feminist Library/Facebook
This independent study by the Heinrich Boll Foundation provides an assessment of how a climate change adaptation program in Tabasco State, Mexico, contributed to changing gender relations. It addresses potential measures which must be implemented in furthering gender equality.
Adelita San Vicente Tello, a Mexican agronomist, farmer and land defenders shares the story of the founding and goals of “Sin Maiz, No Hay Pais”, “Without Corn There is No Country”, a grassroots coalition comprised of farmers’ groups, environmental activists, human rights defenders, scientists, and members of the media who are taking action to stop GMO contamination in Mexico. Particularly, the collective is focusing on protecting maiz (corn), a vital crop which originated in Mexico, and is central to the countries spiritual, economic, and cultural identities. She also discusses the work of her organization, Semillas De Vida, which is working to protect the use of diverse local seeds Photo credit: Women Rising Radio